Doctor inspecting someone's shoulder | Humphrey Shoulder Clinic

With over 1500 shoulder replacement surgeries, Dr. Humphrey is one of the most experienced surgeons in the Treasure Valley area. Dr. Humphrey at the Humphrey Shoulder Clinic has achieved many accomplishments in the field of shoulder arthroplasty. He has published multiple articles on various aspects of shoulder replacement surgery, and is the inventor on several US patents pertaining to shoulder arthroplasty. He has also helped design shoulder replacement components that are used globally and are renowned for their quality and reliability.

When Is Total Shoulder Joint Replacement Surgery Necessary?

Total shoulder joint replacement surgery is a procedure that can offer significant relief from chronic, debilitating pain, often while improving range of motion. It is typically recommended by doctors when other treatments such as medications or physical therapy fail to alleviate the condition. The most common conditions that lead to total shoulder replacement are osteoarthritis, irreparable rotator cuff tears, shoulder fracture, inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis), and osteonecrosis.

Five Most Common Shoulder Conditions Treated by Surgery

  • Osteoarthritis is a common cause for total shoulder replacement surgery. It occurs when the cartilage within the joint slowly wears away. Symptoms include pain in the joint when used excessively or even at rest, joint stiffness after a period of inactivity, grinding sensation while moving the joint, and loss of flexibility over time.
  • Torn rotator cuff occurs when muscles or tendons that help keep your arm in place become damaged due to injury or strain from repetitive movement activities. In some cases, a tear may be so severe that even minor tasks become painful and difficult to perform due to loss of strength of the muscles around the shoulder region.
  • Shoulder fractures usually occur through trauma, such as falling on an outstretched arm. They often involve bone and soft tissue damage, which cause dysfunction of the joint.
  • Inflammatory arthritic conditions , like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS), can create significant shoulder discomfort and damage. Both conditions sometimes require surgical intervention to alleviate the pain and associated dysfunction that they can cause.
  • Osteonecrosis is when blood flow to a bone is disrupted, causing subsequent bone death. A total shoulder joint replacement surgery or hemiarthroplasty may be required to prevent further damage to the shoulder joint.

Is Total Shoulder Replacement a Major Surgery?

Total shoulder replacement is a major surgical procedure that involves the complete replacement of the shoulder joint with an artificial implant. It entails the removal of a damaged humeral head and glenoid, which are replaced with a specially designed prosthetic.

Person grasping their shoulder in pain | Humphrey Shoulder Clinic

There are three types of shoulder replacement surgery:

  • Hemiarthroplasty – this involves replacing the ball of the shoulder joint, while leaving the socket as is or smoothing it with a reamer (the “Ream and Run” technique). Hemiarthroplasty is usually reserved for patients with osteonecrosis of the humeral head whose glenoid is not yet degenerative. Other candidates for hemiarthroplasty are patients who are still working and have jobs with high physical demands.
  • Anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty – With this procedure the goal is to replicate the normal anatomy. Anatomic total shoulder arthroplasty was the standard of care for many years, but newer research has suggested that there may be a higher need for revision surgery with anatomic arthroplasty than with reverse total shoulder arthroplasty.
  • Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty – The prosthetic ball and socket are “flipped” during reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. This procedure was originally developed to help patients who had both an irreparable rotator cuff tear and an arthritic shoulder joint. The indications for performing a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, however, have greatly expanded over the last ten years or so. Long-term follow-up studies now suggest that reverse total shoulder arthroplasty may last longer than anatomic shoulder replacement, leading to less need for revision surgery as the patient ages.

For both anatomic and reverse shoulder replacement, the prosthetic joint usually consists of two parts: a stem component to fit inside the upper arm (humerus) bone, and an artificial socket component to fit into the shoulder blade socket (glenoid). These components are coupled through a metal ball-and-socket assembly that usually provides pain relief and better movement similar to a natural shoulder joint. During this surgery, tissue and bones may need to be reshaped to accommodate the prosthesis.

What is the Purpose of Shoulder Surgery?

The primary purpose of total shoulder replacement surgery is to relieve pain resulting from arthritis or other degenerative conditions that have caused deterioration of the joint. Shoulder joint replacement is also sometimes used in cases where trauma has caused severe damage to one or more structures within the shoulder joint complex. When performed for the right indications, this procedure can offer significant improvements in functionality, often resulting in reduced pain levels and an improved shoulder range of motion.

How Fast Will I Return Home After Surgery?

Most shoulder replacement surgeries performed by Dr. Humphrey are done on an outpatient basis, allowing patients to return home on the same day. During a consultation, Dr. Humphrey will review all diagnoses and treatment options (non-surgical before surgical) with you.

Person rowing on a body of water | Humphrey Shoulder Clinic

Personalized Shoulder Care at Humphrey Shoulder Clinic

Are you looking for relief from shoulder pain? The Humphrey Shoulder Clinic offers comprehensive treatment options to help you get back to normal. Whether you have a shoulder condition that can be treated with non-operative care or one that requires surgery, we have the experience and expertise to assess your condition, develop a personalized treatment plan, and provide the support you need. Schedule an appointment online or call us at 208-639-4800 to start your journey to a healthier and more comfortable lifestyle.