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Shoulder Replacement

Swimming after shoulder replacement surgery at Virginia Mason

Virginia Mason's orthopedic surgeons routinely perform shoulder replacement surgery for patients with joint degeneration or fracture caused by osteoarthritis, trauma, infection, sports-related injuries, or from the natural wear and tear of aging. They also specialize in partial shoulder replacement, reverse total shoulder replacement and bilateral shoulder replacement surgery.

Nationally, shoulder replacements are performed less frequently than knee and hip replacements — roughly 23,000 people have a shoulder replaced every year compared to more than 700,000 patients who undergo knee and hip replacements. At Virginia Mason, patient outcomes for shoulder replacement meet or exceed national standards. For patients with pain, loss of strength and limited range of motion, shoulder replacement surgery can make a world of difference in their quality of life.

The Shoulder in Motion

The shoulder is one of two ball-and-socket joints in the body, the other being the hip joint. The shoulder consists of a shallow socket within the shoulder blade, with a "ball," or head, from the top of the arm bone moving within it. The shoulder allows more range of motion than any other joint in the body. A shoulder replacement restores strength and range of motion in the arm while reducing stiffness and pain.

The Virginia Mason Difference in Anesthesiology

Total joint replacement can be one of the most painful surgeries when traditional methods of pain control are used. At Virginia Mason, however, physicians are using new approaches. The anesthesia delivered to shoulder replacement patients is designed to promote a faster recovery with fewer complications.

The ability of Virginia Mason anesthesiologists to keep joint replacement patients comfortable is evident in patient satisfaction scores for pain control in the 99th percentile on our inpatient unit.

The Shoulder Replacement Implant

A shoulder replacement implant consists of three parts:

  1. A new socket (glenoid) that is implanted within the shoulder blade (scapula)
  2. A new "ball" to replace the top of the arm bone (humerus)
  3. A stem that secures the ball within the arm bone.

These materials are comprised of titanium or chrome-cobalt stainless steel and polyethylene plastic.

Peer Partners

Virginia Mason's Peer Partners is a unique program of support for hospitalized patients. Volunteers who have been through similar procedures visit with patients and their families to answer questions and assist with non-medical concerns. Peer Partners can also help caregivers understand how to best provide care and support when a patient returns home.

Questions About Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

To schedule an appointment to talk with an orthopedic specialist about shoulder replacements, call us at (206) 341-3000.