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Reverse Total Shoulder vs. Total Shoulder

One of the questions that I often get from patients is about the difference between a reverse total shoulder vs. a total shoulder, and which one is right for them.

There are very specific clinical indications for each so, it’s important that the correct procedure is selected for you based on your situation.

In an anatomic shoulder reconstruction, we replace the humerus, or the ball of the shoulder with a new smooth ball, and we resurface the socket with a nice smooth socket, and we close the soft tissues around the joint. That requires an intact rotator cuff and basically is just limited to arthritis of the shoulder and it has very good outcomes, very good pain relief.

In contrast, there are a number of patients, a growing number of patients actually, who have multiple problems in the shoulder. They have arthritis and they also may have rotator cuff problems. So, in a lot of those settings, instead of doing an anatomic reconstruction, we use a reverse shoulder replacement.

That’s where we turn the socket of the shoulder into a ball and we turn the ball of the shoulder into a socket, where it gets its name from. And through that design and through the biomechanics, we’re able to restore function of the shoulder, eliminate pain, and get people back to using their arm for different activities that they enjoy.

Learn more about shoulder replacement

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