Outcomes of reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

Reverse shoulder replacements have been done in the United States since 2004. Long-term outcomes and risks of long-term complications are not known at this time.

Short-term outcomes

Reverse shoulder replacements have done very well two to five years after surgery.

  • It lessens a person’s pain in more than 90 out of 100 cases.
  • Most people are better able to raise their arm over their head.
    • This changes some based on the age of the person, the strength of the deltoid muscle, and the amount of rotator cuff tissue remaining.

Increased upper arm movement

After reverse total shoulder arthroplasty surgery you should be able to raise your arm above shoulder level and touch the top of your head and the opposite shoulder.

May be able to rotate your arm outward

This depends on how much rotator cuff tendon is intact.

Will lose some motion reaching behind your back

Most people can only reach their belt line or back pocket.

Should have more stability and less dislocation problems 

This is true if you have an unstable shoulder prior to surgery. The risk of early dislocation after a reverse shoulder replacement is slightly greater than after a standard shoulder replacement. It can happen in up to 10 out of 100 people.

Should be able to be active 

You should be able to do things, such as golf, tennis, swimming, and light yard work and gardening. Know that being able to do these things depends on many factors and varies greatly among people.

Should not lift more than 25 pounds

If you do not follow this restriction you may have pain and/or early loosening of the artificial joint.

Your arm will be slightly longer

A reverse shoulder replacement will make your arm slightly longer (about 1/2 inch). Most people do not notice this. The contour of the shoulder often looks slightly different. This is because the deltoid muscle looks thinner or hollow.

Last reviewed: 
October 2018

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