Total Shoulder Replacement Specialist

ORTHOKnox -  - Orthopaedic Surgeon


Orthopaedic Surgeons - Shoulder, Knee, and Orthobiologic Injection Specialists located in Knoxville, TN

Your body’s musculoskeletal structure is a very complex system that relies on joints for movement. As with any mechanical system, your joints can succumb to wear-and-tear over the years, requiring replacement. At ORTHOKnox, the providers specialize in total shoulder replacement, helping patients in Knoxville and the surrounding areas of Tennessee, regain pain-free movement of their arms. To learn more about your options in shoulder replacement, call one of the offices or request an appointment with the online scheduler.

Total Shoulder Replacement

What is the anatomy of the shoulder?

Your shoulder is a large ball-and-socket joint where three bones come together:

  • The humerus, or upper arm bone
  • The scapula, or shoulder blade
  • The clavicle, or collarbone

The ball on the end of your humerus is called the humeral head and it articulates or moves smoothly against the socket on the shoulder blade known as the glenoid.  The glenoid has a ring of cartilage surrounding it called the labrum.

Keeping all of these bones in place, while still allowing ample movement, are the soft tissue and connective tissue components of your joint, including your:

  • Ligaments
  • Tendons
  • Muscles
  • Cartilage
  • Synovium

The cartilage and synovium play key roles in allowing your bones to glide smoothly across one another to facilitate movement.


Why would I need a shoulder replacement?

The most common reason why you may need a shoulder replacement is because of degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis.  As you age, the tissues of your shoulder often begin to degenerate. The labrum become frayed or torn. The articular cartilage can become damaged or worn, even worn away completely down to exposed bone. Bone spurs begin to develop, worsening the pain and further limiting motion of the shoulder. This may also cause swelling and stiffness in the joint.

Another reason why you may need a replacement as a result of rheumatoid arthritis, which attacks the synovial membrane and articular cartilage around your shoulder joint, rendering it painful and stiff.

Finally, patients with chronic, irreparable rotator cuff tears often progress to develop a particular type of arthritis known as Cuff-Tear Arthropathy.  These patients often are some of the more debilitated shoulder patients with extreme loss of motion and strength.

These diseases are degenerative, which typically means they progress over time.


How is my shoulder joint replaced?

The providers at ORTHOKnox use the latest  techniques for total shoulder replacements.  There are two basic designs of implants. The surgeon will discuss and choose the design right for your problem:

Anatomic (or Conventional) shoulder replacement

In this procedure, your surgeon replaces the damaged head of your humerus with a metal ball and replaces your shoulder socket with a plastic implant. We typically recommend the anatomic replacement surgery when your rotator cuff is still intact and the shoulder is still well balanced.

This type of shoulder replacement is anatomic, which means your shoulder is restored back to its original design.  

Reverse shoulder replacement

If your rotator cuff is also damaged, an anatomic design will not restore the motion and function of your shoulder.  Your surgeon then chooses a Reverse shoulder replacement. The “Reverse” design effectively switches the position of the ball and socket, which allows your deltoid muscle to raise your arm instead of your rotator cuff. Therefore, even patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears can have pain free function and motion to their shoulder.

To learn more about total shoulder replacement, call ORTHOKnox or use the online scheduling tool to request an appointment.