Total Shoulder Joint Replacement Surgery

Shoulder Arthroplasty is an orthopaedic surgical procedure performed on the shoulder joint. It may also be referred to as Joint Replacement Surgery.

Arthroplasty is a treatment that restores the functionality of a joint. The doctor either inserts a partial prosthesis into the surface of the joint or completely replaces it. Simply put, in an arthroplasty the surgeon uses artificial parts to replace, remodel and realign a damaged joint.

The Parts of The Shoulder

Three bones make up the shoulder: the scapula (shoulder blade), the humerus (upper arm bone) and the clavicle (collarbone).

The rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that hold the bones together. A bursa is a sack of tissue that reduces friction between bones and it is located between the rotator cuff and the acromion (a part of the scapula).

The humeral head is the ball of the shoulder joint (ball-and-socket). It fits into a part of the scapula called the glenoid (socket). The surfaces of the bones, which meet, are covered with cartilage. Cartilage reduces friction between bones as they glide on its slick and smooth surface.

The final piece of the shoulder is the capsule. It is a sac surrounding the joint, which holds fluid to lubricate and aid it in motion.


Before a patient undergoes surgery, a full physical examination is carried out.

For a complete shoulder arthroplasty, the surgeon will use two implants. The first piece is the humeral component and it is the new ball of the joint. The second piece is the glenoid component and it replaces the socket of the shoulder.

  • The patient undergoes general anesthesia (he/she is put to sleep)
  • His/her skin is disinfected with an anti-bacterial solution and the operative site is covered with a sterile drape
  • The surgeon makes an incision at the front of the shoulder and the surrounding tissue is moved to the side
  • Another incision is made into the capsule to gain access to the joint
  • The bones are reshaped in preparation for the implants. The ball (humeral head) is extracted and the upper humerus undergoes reshaping
  • Remaining cartilage is removed from the surface of the glenoid (socket) and a burr is used to drill holes into the scapula that will be used as anchor points for the prosthetics
  • The prosthetics are then fitted to the bones
  • The joint capsule and the skin is stitched closed
  • A sterile bandage is applied and the arm is placed in a sling

Patients of Josephides Healthcare Clinic receive a call with special pre-operative instructions the day before their operation.

The procedure and operation times vary according to the treatment being carried out. The severity of a patient’s condition and his/her overall health also affect their recovery time.


The top three conditions that lead to Shoulder Arthroplasty are:

  • Systemic diseases; arthritis causes degenerative changes to the joint
  • Severe trauma; shattered bone that cannot be restored
  • Degeneration of the joint; wear and tear that over time causes damage

There most common types of ‘inflammatory arthritis’ include Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Post-Traumatic Arthritis.  Arthritis can develop in any joint of the body and the symptoms include pain, inflammation and stiffness.

What to consider

Patients who have undergone arthroplasty have major pain improvement. They can perform activities comfortably, such as reaching into a closet, dressing, washing and even sports. This treatment is recommended when non-surgical methods fail. Arthroplasty can lead to a better quality of living.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Arthroplastic treatment is performed at Ygia Polyclinic Private Hospital by Dr. med. Stephen Josephides.