Having Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Reverse total shoulder replacement is a type of surgery. It’s usually done to repair an injury to the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder joint together.

What to tell your healthcare provider

Before your surgery, tell your healthcare provider:

  • What medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen. It also includes vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. You may need to stop taking some medicines before the procedure, such as blood thinners and aspirin.

  • If you smoke. You may need to stop before your surgery. Smoking can delay healing. Talk with your healthcare provider if you need help to stop smoking.

  • If you’ve had recent changes in your health. This includes an infection or fever.

  • If you are sensitive or allergic to anything. This includes medicines, latex, tape, and anesthetic medicines.

  • If you are pregnant. Also tell your healthcare provider if you think you may be pregnant.

Getting ready for your surgery

Make sure to:

  • Ask a family member or friend to take you home from the hospital

  • Make plans for some help at home while you recover

  • Follow all other instructions from your healthcare provider

  • Read the consent form and ask questions if something is not clear

  • Not eat or drink after midnight before your surgery

Tests before your surgery

Before your surgery, you may need tests such as:

  • Shoulder X-rays. These are done to view the bones of your shoulder.

  • CT scan. This test uses a series of X-rays and a computer to show your shoulder in more detail.

  • MRI. This test uses large magnets, radio waves, and a computer to see the bones, muscles, and tendons in more detail.

On the day of your surgery

Your procedure will be done by an orthopedic surgeon. This is a doctor who specializes in treating bones and muscles. He or she will work with a team of specialized nurses. The surgery can be done in several ways. Ask your doctor about the details of your surgery. The whole procedure may take a few hours. In general, you can expect the following:

  • You will have general anesthesia, a medicine that allows you to sleep through the surgery. You won’t feel any pain during the surgery. Or you will be given medicine (sedation) to make you relaxed and sleepy during the procedure. You will be given medicine that blocks pain in the area (regional anesthesia).

  • A healthcare provider will watch your heart rate, blood pressure, and other vital signs during the surgery.

  • The surgeon will make a cut through the skin on the front or on the top of your shoulder. He or she will then cut through the layer of muscle beneath.

  • The damaged sections of the humerus and the scapula will be removed.

  • The artificial ball will be attached to your scapula with special screws. The socket will be attached to the top of the upper arm bone.

  • A tube may be placed in the joint to drain extra fluid and blood. This tube will be taken out later.

  • The muscles and skin will be closed with stitches or staples.