Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement may be necessary when the shoulder joint is stiff, painful, or damaged, usually a result of arthritis, and when conservative measures—pain medication, injections, and physical therapy are no longer effective in managing symptoms. Surgical Solutions Network works with experienced orthopedic specialists who perform private shoulder replacement surgery in Canada to help people from Toronto, Ontario; Calgary, Alberta; Vancouver, British Columbia; Winnipeg, Manitoba; and across the country renew their quality of life.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery With Surgical Solutions Network

Patients from across Canada and all over the world choose Surgical Solutions’ private medical clinics for timely access to shoulder replacement surgery. Our orthopedic surgeons have years of experience performing this and other minimally invasive shoulder procedures and are known for excellence in our surgical outcomes.

We are committed to helping you regain full motion in your extremity so you can go back to your daily activities free of pain. We strive to provide exceptional pre- and post-operative care. Through our patient-centered philosophy, we aim to provide all patients with a compassionate, caring, and rewarding experience.

Values That Matter to Us and Our Patients

Compassion

We are patient focused and provide effective care with human kindness.

Innovation

We combine innovation with the latest technology and processes to advance surgical care in Canada and better serve patients and providers.

Quality

We are a continuous learning organization that measures, monitors, and improves every day.

Respect

We support, respect, and accept our patients, team members, and partners, while operating with honesty and integrity in providing our services.

Shoulder Joint Anatomy

Having a basic understanding of the shoulder joint anatomy will help you understand your need for shoulder replacement surgery. The anatomical ball-and-socket shoulder joint is made up of the following bones:

  • The ball (humeral head) is located at the end of the upper arm bone (humerus).
  • The socket is part of the shoulder blade (scapula).

The ball is held in the socket by ligaments and the rotator cuff tendons. The rotator cuff muscles start on the shoulder blade and turn into tendons that attach to the ball.

What Are the Three Types of Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

A common cause of shoulder pain is when the cartilage on the ends of the bones wears down or is lost, allowing bone to rub against bone in the joint. Shoulder replacement surgery involves removing damaged portions of the shoulder and replacing the bony surfaces with prosthetic implants. Our surgeons use the following shoulder replacement techniques:

  • Total: Total shoulder replacement surgery replaces the ball with a partial sphere made of metal. This partial sphere sits on top of a metal stem that fits down into the shaft of the humerus. Sometimes cement is utilized to keep the stem in place. The socket portion of the joint is replaced with an oblong disk with a cupped surface, which lines the socket and replaces the damaged cartilage. The partial sphere fits into this cupped surface to re-create the natural shoulder joint.
  • Partial: A partial shoulder replacement preserves the healthy socket of the shoulder. With this technique, only one side (the diseased portion) of the joint is replaced, leaving the healthy portion untouched. It may be used when the damage is limited to the ball portion of the joint. A successful partial shoulder replacement may relieve pain and preserve more of your natural shoulder. It may delay, and in some cases prevent, the need for total shoulder replacement.
  • Reverse: If the rotator cuff muscle is too damaged to support a traditional joint replacement, your surgeon may recommend a “reverse” shoulder replacement. This procedure reverses the ball and socket configuration of your shoulder, allowing other muscles to compensate for your damaged rotator cuff. Reverse total shoulder replacement can result in increased stability, strength, and range of motion in your shoulder joint.

Whether a socket is used or not depends upon how bad the arthritis is in the shoulder and whether the rotator cuff tendons are intact.

What Happens During Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery at our private centres in Canada involves removing damaged portions of the shoulder and replacing the bony surfaces with manufactured prosthetic implants. The surgery repositions the shoulder into proper alignment to replicate the original function, allowing for a near-normal range of motion for the patient.

During your consultation, a surgeon will discuss the recommended technique and prosthetic to suit your needs. We will review the procedure, including the risks, benefits, recovery, and life after the procedure.

Shoulder Replacement FAQ

Who is a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery and how will it alleviate my symptoms?

Shoulder replacement surgery is available to patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis or other chronic degenerative changes of the shoulder due to fracture or overuse. Chronic pain or reduced function of the shoulder can occur after acute or chronic injuries have damaged the shoulder joint or surrounding tendons and ligaments.

What are the possible outcomes after shoulder replacement?

Shoulder replacement surgery is very successful for pain relief and will improve range of motion and function. The degree of improvement depends on the individual patient’s pre-surgical status; your specific risks and benefits will be discussed during your consultation with a surgeon.

How should I prepare for my consultation and surgery?

  • Get an MRI. Your family physician can arrange for you to have an MRI of your affected shoulder.
  • Prepare. Create a list of questions and concerns for the surgeon to address during your consultation. 
  • Get in shape. Your surgeon may suggest you lose weight and initiate an exercise program to achieve the most successful recovery.
  • Quit smoking. If you smoke, be sure to speak with your surgeon about it, as smoking can dangerously increase surgical risks and slow down the healing process.

How do I qualify for this procedure?

First, you will need to complete a pre-surgical patient questionnaire to provide us with your basic medical history. We also request your most recent MRI images. Should these confirm you are a suitable patient for the procedure and our facility, we will request a medical history and physical, along with bloodwork and ECG from your family doctor.

Is shoulder surgery considered major surgery?

It is important to understand that shoulder replacement is major surgery. Please keep in mind that after successful surgery, setbacks and complications can still happen. Expect to experience post-operative pain and swelling. While reactions to surgery and anaesthetic differ, in our experience, the techniques and protocols used by our surgeons and anaesthetists allow for faster rehabilitation to get you back to your old self as fast as possible.

What is the average process like and how long will it take for me to return to my normal activities?

Our surgeon will be able to discuss the recommended technique and prosthetic to suit your needs. You will be provided with specific post-operative instructions, including rehabilitation required during each phase of your recovery. Physical therapy begins the day after surgery with slow, specific movement of the fingers, wrist, and elbow. Some motion of the shoulder will begin within a day or so after surgery and formal physiotherapy within 2 weeks post-op.

Next Steps: Book Your Consultation Today

If you are ready to discuss your shoulder replacement surgery needs with one of our orthopedic surgeons, contact us using our online form to request a consultation today. Please note that we will require your X-ray and/or MRI images along with some basic medical history in order to prepare for your consultation appropriately. Consultations can take place via telephone or video conference.

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