Reverse Shoulder Replacement

If you need a shoulder replacement due to a severe type of arthritis that stems from rotator cuff arthropathy, you need a reverse shoulder replacement. At Austin Shoulder Institute, with locations in Austin, Cedar Park, and Round Rock, Texas, Robert Graham, MD, and Benjamin Szerlip, DO, are board-certified orthopedic surgeons with expertise in performing reverse shoulder replacement procedures. Call or make an appointment online today.

What is a reverse shoulder replacement?

In a traditional shoulder replacement procedure, your surgeon reconstructs your shoulder so that it relies on your rotator cuff for stability and motion. A reverse shoulder replacement, the deltoid muscles of your upper back support, stabilize, and move your new artificial joint.


Why would I need a reverse shoulder replacement?

Your surgeon may recommend a reverse shoulder replacement if you have severe rotator cuff damage that would prevent it from adequately supporting your new joint. Some of the conditions that necessitate a reverse shoulder replacement include:

  • Irreparably torn rotator cuff
  • Rotator cuff arthropathy
  • A previously unsuccessful shoulder replacement
  • Complex shoulder fracture
  • Chronic shoulder dislocations


Signs that you may have a severe rotator cuff problem include an inability to lift your arm away from your side or over your head. You may also have tried other noninvasive treatments such as medication, cortisone injections, and physical therapy without success.


How do I know if a reverse shoulder replacement is right for me?

At Austin Shoulder Institute, Dr. Graham and Dr. Szerlip provide comprehensive consultations and exams to identify the specific injury or condition that’s causing your pain. They also use advanced diagnostic techniques such as X-rays, MRIs, and arthroscopy to examine the inside of your joint and the tissues that comprise your shoulder in detail before recommending any treatment including reverse shoulder replacement.


What should I expect after a reverse shoulder replacement?

Your surgeon provides a splint or sling to immobilize your arm and shoulder while you heal. You may have some discomfort, but ice packs and anti-inflammatory medicine can help you manage your pain. Your doctor also prescribes physical therapy soon after your surgery to help you maintain your strength and flexibility as you recover.


You may need some help at home as you recover as your range of motion will be temporarily limited. However, a few minor adjustments such as moving items off of high shelves can reduce your inconvenience.

If you live with chronic shoulder pain and reduced mobility, call Austin Shoulder Institute or make an appointment online today to learn about your treatment options including reverse shoulder replacement.