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House Call: Shoulder Replacements

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Although shoulder replacement surgery is far less common than knee or hip replacement, the number of shoulder replacement procedures performed in the U.S. is expected to double every seven years. 

One reason shoulder replacements are less common is that shoulders are not weight-bearing joints, like the hips and knees.  Yet as the population ages and individuals stay active longer, the need for shoulder replacement surgery continues to rise. 

The shoulder has the greatest mobility of all the joints in the body, therefore shoulder replacement surgery involves extremely close attention to detail.  Creating proper alignment and balance between the joint and surrounding muscles is imperative. 

There are two main procedure options in shoulder replacement surgery.  The most common procedure is known as traditional total shoulder arthroplasty, which is performed on patients with functioning rotator cuff muscles.

Reverse total shoulder arthroplasty is performed on patients with joint disease and a torn rotator cuff.  By reversing the original anatomy of the shoulder, the replacement can do the job of both the joint and the rotator cuff muscles. 

Many factors can cause the need for shoulder replacement surgery, with osteoarthritis being the number one reason.  Those with past shoulder injury, multiple dislocations, and other forms of arthritis are also at higher risk for needing a total shoulder replacement. 

The great news is that people who have severe joint disease do not have to suffer through the pain and debilitation.  With the many advancements in the field of joint replacement surgery, patients are experiencing shorter hospital stays, quicker recovery periods and significantly higher quality of life. 

Cone Health Orthopedic Center of Excellence has an exceptional network of highly-trained orthopedic specialists and related healthcare professionals who are dedicated to treating patients with joint disease throughout the community, and have performed thousands of successful total shoulder replacement surgeries.

Spokesperson Background:

Dr. Kevin Supple is an orthopaedic surgeon at Greensboro Orthopaedics and a member of the Cone Health Medical Staff.  Dr. Supple earned his M.D. at University of Southern California School of Medicine. He served his general surgery internship and his orthopaedic surgery residency at the Jackson Memorial Medical Center of the University of Miami.  Dr. Supple’s specialization is arthroscopic and reconstructive surgery of the shoulder and knee, and total shoulder and reverse shoulder replacements. He is the first physician in Guilford County to receive the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Subspecialty Certificate in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine.