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Reverse Shoulder Replacement Specialist

Brent J. Morris, MD

Orthopedic Shoulder & Elbow Surgeon located in Lexington, KY

If you have a large rotator cuff tear that has caused a particularly severe form of arthritis, a conventional shoulder replacement procedure may not be the best option for you. In these cases, Brent J. Morris, MD, may recommend reverse shoulder replacement instead. This procedure can effectively relieve your pain and restore function to your shoulder. To make an appointment, call Dr. Morris’ Lexington, KY office.

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Q & A

What is reverse shoulder replacement?

Reverse shoulder replacement is an alternative to a conventional shoulder replacement surgery. Dr. Morris may recommend this procedure if you have cuff tear arthropathy, which is a complex form of shoulder arthritis that develops after a large rotator cuff tear.

How does reverse shoulder replacement work?

A conventional shoulder replacement procedure involves replacing the ball-and-socket shoulder joint with prosthetic parts that mimic the original joint’s motion and function. With a reverse shoulder replacement, on the other hand, Dr. Morris reverses the position of the prosthetic ball and socket.

A reverse shoulder replacement is more effective for patients with cuff tear arthropathy because movement of the arm relies on different muscles after this procedure. When your shoulder is healthy, your rotator cuff muscles are responsible for moving your shoulder and arm. However, if you have a large rotator cuff tear, these muscles don’t function properly anymore. A reverse shoulder replacement shifts responsibility for movement to your healthy deltoid muscle instead, providing you with better strength and range of motion.

Who is a good candidate for reverse shoulder replacement?

You may be a good candidate for reverse shoulder replacement if you have cuff tear arthropathy or a rotator cuff that’s completely torn and can’t be repaired. You may also be a good candidate for this procedure if you have:

  • A tumor in your shoulder joint
  • Chronic dislocation of your shoulder
  • A complex shoulder fracture
  • A history of unsuccessful shoulder replacement surgery

In most cases, Dr. Morris recommends reverse shoulder replacement surgery only after you’ve tried other treatments, such as physical therapy, without any success.

What should patients expect during and after surgery?

If Dr. Morris recommends the reverse shoulder replacement procedure, you’re hospitalized and placed under general anesthesia during the surgery. After the surgery, you recover for several weeks. During this time, you aren’t able to perform certain activities on your own, such as grooming and dressing.

In most cases, you need to participate in rehabilitation to regain full use of your shoulder. Dr. Morris lets you know when rehabilitation should begin and how long you should expect the recovery process to take.