Shoulder replacement surgery is a safe and effective way to stop shoulder pain and restore function. At New Hampshire Orthopaedic Center (NHOC), our fellowship-trained shoulder surgeons have the expertise and skill to replace damaged shoulder joints.
We’ve helped thousands of people rediscover life with a pain-free, fully functioning shoulder. When medication and physical therapy aren’t enough, turn to the shoulder surgeons at NHOC.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery in New Hampshire: Why Choose Us?
No matter how long you’ve been living with shoulder pain, our surgeons have the skill to deliver lasting relief. When you come to us for shoulder replacement surgery, you benefit from:
- Decades of experience: Shoulder replacement surgeries require a high level of surgical skill. Our surgeons are among the most experienced in New Hampshire. In the decades they’ve specialized in shoulder treatment, they have been trusted to care for professional athletes and sports teams. They use this expertise to deliver excellent results for residents throughout New Hampshire.
- Improved quality of life: Our shoulder replacement patients have excellent outcomes. They quickly experience improved shoulder function, chronic pain relief and a better quality of life.
- Advanced technology: Innovative technology like the virtual implant positioning (VIP) surgical system allows us to map your surgery ahead of time with exceptional precision. The system uses advanced computer software to tailor the procedure and shoulder prosthesis to your anatomy, which makes recovery easier and improves results.
- Care for the whole body: NHOC is home to experienced physicians and providers who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of all orthopedic conditions. They provide expert care from head to toe so that you can stay in motion and pain-free. Read more about our shoulder care.
- Convenient locations: We provide comprehensive shoulder care across southern New Hampshire in Nashua, Bedford and Londonderry. Choose the office location most convenient for you
Understanding Shoulder Arthritis
The shoulder has greater range of motion than any other joint. It’s a ball-and-socket joint made up of several parts:
- Humerus (upper arm bone)
- Scapula (shoulder blade)
- Clavicle (collarbone)
- Glenoid (socket in the shoulder blade where the rounded head of the arm bone fits)
Arthritis is inflammation in a joint. This inflammation can wear down cartilage, the natural protective layer between bones. When this happens, the bones rub together, causing pain. The shoulder has two joints that can become arthritic:
- Acromioclavicular (AC) joint: This joint is located where the collarbone meets the end of the shoulder blade.
- Glenohumeral joint: This joint forms where the rounded top of the arm bone fits into the socket.
The rotator cuff is the set of muscles that surround your glenohumeral joint. It centers the top of the arm bone in the socket. It also helps to lift and rotate your arm. Shoulder replacement surgery treats arthritis in the glenohumeral joint by replacing the damaged joint with a prosthesis.
Shoulder Replacement Surgeries We Offer
Your new shoulder joint involves a metal ball and medical-grade plastic socket, or just the metal ball. Traditionally, the ball includes a long stem that goes inside your arm bone to hold it in place.
At NHOC, we use stemless shoulder replacements. A stemless prosthesis sits on top of the humerus. Because a stemless shoulder replacement is less invasive, you experience less pain and blood loss and a lower risk of complications.
Our surgeons specialize in shoulder replacement (arthroplasty) procedures, including:
Hemiarthroplasty (partial shoulder replacement)
During a hemiarthroplasty, your surgeon replaces only the top of your arm bone with a metal ball. The ball fits into your existing socket. This procedure is for patients who have arthritis only on the ball of the arm bone.
Total shoulder replacement
Your orthopedic surgeon typically recommends total shoulder replacement if your rotator cuff is not damaged or can be repaired.
During a total shoulder arthroplasty, your surgeon replaces the shoulder joint with a metal ball that fits into a plastic socket. The surgeon attaches the ball to the upper arm bone and the artificial socket to your shoulder socket. Total shoulder replacement is also called anatomic shoulder replacement and standard shoulder replacement.
Reverse shoulder replacement
If your rotator cuff is damaged beyond repair, your doctor will recommend reverse shoulder replacement.
Reverse shoulder arthroplasty differs from total shoulder arthroplasty based on how the surgeon implants the prosthesis. In reverse shoulder replacement surgery, your surgeon places the artificial joint in a reverse position. They attach the metal ball to the existing socket and the plastic socket to the upper arm bone.
A severely damaged rotator cuff doesn’t function properly. With this procedure, your deltoid muscle (round muscle that gives the shoulder its shape) keeps the ball in the socket and lifts the arm instead of the rotator cuff.
Is Shoulder Replacement Surgery Right for You?
We understand that shoulder replacement surgery is a major procedure, and we want you to feel comfortable with your decision. Our orthopedic surgeons will first perform a thorough assessment. They will:
- Conduct a physical exam
- Ask you about your symptoms and previous treatments
- Take X-rays of your shoulder
X-rays can show your surgeon if you have shoulder arthritis and how advanced it is. Your doctor can then help you decide if shoulder replacement surgery is right for you. They will explain your treatment options and answer any questions you might have.
To determine which procedure you should have, you undergo other imaging studies, such as:
- MRI: This scan uses strong magnets and radio frequencies to create detailed pictures of your shoulder, including your rotator cuff. Learn more about our MRI services
- CT scan: A CT scan shows detailed images of the shoulder by combining several X-ray images. Our advanced surgical system uses CT scans to precisely plan your procedure. This technology helps improve results by determining the size of your prosthesis and where and how your surgeon should place it based on your anatomy. Previously, surgeons had to figure out these details by sight during the procedure.
Recovery After Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Most of our patients can go home the same day as their surgery. When you leave the hospital or surgery center, your arm is in a sling.
To manage pain, we administer a nerve block injection before the procedure. This medicine blocks pain after surgery. We also give you pain medications to take when the nerve block wears off.
Within the first few weeks, you can start physical therapy at the NHOC location you prefer. Physical therapy is an essential part of your recovery. It helps restore shoulder function, strength and flexibility.
How long does it take to recover from a shoulder replacement?
The time it takes to recover after shoulder replacement depends on the type of surgery you have and personal factors such as your overall health.
A standard shoulder replacement sometimes takes longer to recover from than a reverse shoulder replacement. This is because surgeons must go through the rotator cuff to access and replace the shoulder joint.
Contact Us About Our Shoulder Program
For questions about our shoulder program or to make an appointment with one of our shoulder specialists, call 603.883.0091.