Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

What is a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty?

Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty is a joint replacement surgery to treat painful conditions where the rotator cuff tendons are damaged and cannot be repaired.

Rotator cuff problems can happen when you have

  • Arthritis
  • Shoulder instability
  • Failure of another joint replacement
  • Inability to raise your arm against gravity

How a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty works

A reverse shoulder replacement changes the way your shoulder works. It transfers more of the load to your deltoid muscles and less to the rotator cuff muscles. The ball and socket in your shoulder will be replaced and reversed. The ball portion of your shoulder is replaced with a plastic cup that is attached to the top of a metal stem that is placed in the humerus (upper arm) bone.

The best results are seen in people who have some functioning rotator cuff tendons and muscles.

Last reviewed: 
October 2018

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