Why A Reverse Shoulder Replacement?

Why did my surgeon recommend a reverse shoulder replacement?

Maybe you’re asking why, and the answer is simpler than you think.

Here are some possible reasons why your surgeon would recommend a reverse shoulder replacement over a normal shoulder replacement.


– torn rotator cuff that surgery can’t repair

– You had a previous shoulder replacement procedure that hasn’t resolved your issue(s)

-a complex fracture of the shoulder join

– d have chronic shoulder dislocation

– If you have a tumor of the shoulder joint


Your new shoulder pieces will fit together like your natural shoulder, with the ball in the socket. However, their positions are reversed. The metal ball is attached to your shoulder bone. The plastic socket cup goes on your upper arm bone, and shoulder muscles replace the rotator cuff to stabilize the joint.


When a surgeon performs a reverse total shoulder surgery, he/she is changing the leverage of your shoulder to allow muscles other than the rotator cuff to perform the actions.

You should have “normal” range of motion. There may be some loss of mobility mostly with internal rotation such as washing your back or putting on a bra behind your back.


Strength can be gained with time and Physical therapy but due to no longer using the rotator muscles, strength likely hood would be in the 50-75% range of your previous shoulder strength.


So to recap:

Some of the possible limitations for a reverse total shoulder are:

-Lack of reaching behind your back

-Restricting lifting over 25# overhead


While positives are:

Pain free motion

ability to bathe and dress

Rehabilitation could take about 4-8 months with Physical therapy and determination


Always ask questions when determining if a shoulder replacement is right for you like:

– Are there certain activities that you are currently able to perform that you are unwilling to give up?

– ask if there are specific activities that put you at higher risk of developing a complication such as fracture or dislocation.

– ask if there are specific activities that put you at higher risk of causing premature failure of the replacement?



  • www.umms.org
  • coloradosportsdoctor.com