Total Shoulder Replacement Overview

Shoulder osteoarthritis has the potential to become a debilitating condition for older adults living in the communities of Dallas, Frisco and Fort Worth, Texas. Years of continued wear and tear of the joint can cause cartilage to deteriorate, leading to painful arthritis symptoms such as inflammation and decreased range of motion. When the symptoms can no longer be treated with nonoperative and minimally invasive surgical techniques, a total shoulder replacement may be recommended by the shoulder surgeons at Texas Sports Medicine.

What is Total Shoulder Replacement?

Total shoulder replacement, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, is a surgical technique that removes the damaged parts of the shoulder joint and replaces them with artificial components (prosthesis). The treatment options include replacement of just the ball portion (head of the humerus bone), or replacement of both the ball and the socket (glenoid).

Osteoarthritis of the shoulder is the most common cause of a patient requiring a shoulder replacement surgery. This is because osteoarthritis is marked by the progressive wearing away of the protective cartilage that cushions the bones when in movement. As cartilage continues to degenerate, the bones rub against each other and lead to arthritis symptoms.

Other conditions that may lead to total shoulder replacement include post-traumatic arthritis, severe fractures, rotator cuff tear arthropathy and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

Symptoms of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

  • Pain that is worsened by activity
  • Pain that progressively intensifies
  • Inflammation
  • Loss of motion
  • “Grinding” sensation

Treatment of Shoulder Osteoarthritis

Nonoperative measures are usually prescribed at the onset of symptoms. If conservative measures fail to alleviate pain and joint discomfort, surgical techniques are then utilized.


  • Rest and activity modification
    • Stop and/or change activities that worsen the pain
  • Medications
    • Take NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen to reduce discomfort
  • Physical therapy
    • Designed to increase range of motion and keep the affected joint mobile
  • Injections
    • Steroid injections are sometimes used to decrease pain and swelling


  • Minimally invasive surgery
    • Surgical technique: Various arthroscopic techniques designed to provide joint preservation and cartilage restoration can be utilized before shoulder replacement surgery.
  • Total shoulder replacement
    • Surgical technique: A small open incision is created to access the front of the shoulder joint. The natural degenerated parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components made of plastic or metal. The artificial components are held together by an extremely tight fit and medical bone cement.

After Surgery

  • Proper pain management with over-the-counter and prescribed medications
  • Sling will be used for 2-4 weeks
  • Staples will be removed several weeks after the procedure
  • Therapy designed to regain range of motion, mobility and strength will begin almost immediately
  • Return to daily activities usually within 2-3 months

To learn more about total shoulder replacement, please contact the shoulder surgeons at Texas Sports Medicine serving the Dallas, Frisco and Fort Worth, Texas area.