Reverse Total Shoulder Arthroplasty

For patients with large rotator cuff tears, a total shoulder arthroplasty (or replacement) is not necessarily idea, as it may cause pain and limited benefit.

A total shoulder arthroplasty is one where the metal ball joint is implated in the upper arm bone, or humerus, and the plastic cup is fitted into the shoulder socket (glenoid). In the reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, the ball joint and plastic cup are switched around, and the joint goes to the socket and the plastic cup goes into the upper arm bone. Because rotator cuff tears mean those muscles are no longer able to move the arm, the reverse total shoulder arthroplasty uses other muscles, such as the deltoids, to power the movement of the shoulder instead.