We’ve all heard of Total Knee replacement and Total Hip replacement. These are incredibly successful surgeries, whose main goal is pain relief, that have been completed successfully for years for arthritic and damaged joints.
What many people DON’T know is that arthritic ankles and shoulders are increasingly being replaced with metal/plastic prostheses to restore normal, pain free function.
For ankle replacement, several factors determine whether replacement or arthodesis (fusion) is the best option, including age, activity level, body weight, or ankle deformity. If a patient is too heavy, or has a large deformity, then fusion is a better option. Advantages for replacement include reduction of stress on adjacent joints, therefore less arthritis in the rest of the foot.
For Shoulder Replacement, two options are available. The first involves replacement of the normal anatomical contour of the shoulder (ie replace humeral head with metal ball, shoulder joint with curved socket). This has good success and mobility, so long as the rotator cuff is intact and working. If the cuff is torn badly, then normal movement is impossible, and a Reverse Shoulder Replacement is best (replace socket with ball and ball with socket). This allows the Deltoid muscle to control movement in the absence of adequate cuff control.