If your symptoms are mild, then no treatment or an occasional pain-killing medication is usually the best way of proceeding.
If your symptoms are troublesome then physiotherapy is the best place to start, and may be sufficient to improve matters. If not, some patients may benefit from a steroid (cortisone) injection, although these injections are not reliable and often their assistance is temporary.
If your symptoms are severe, the conventional treatment is shoulder replacement surgery, of which we have a number of types:
Hemiarthroplasty surfacing replacement re-covers the damaged humeral head (ball of the joint) with a metal implant.
Total shoulder replacement replaces the entire ball and also the socket of the joint.
Reverse total shoulder replacement is a treatment for arthritis associated with significant rotator cuff tears or some shoulder fractures, places a new ball on the original socket and a socket in the original ball.
A shoulder replacement requires a general anaesthetic. A moderate sized incision is placed on the front of your shoulder with one tendon being partially detached to access your joint. The replacement is inserted, and the soft tissue including your tendon is repaired.
The risks of shoulder replacement include the risks of shoulder surgery mentioned later in this booklet, but also include dislocation and/ or failure of the implant. If the joint dislocates, it may require a general anaesthetic to re-locate by manipulation, or in some instances, the replacement implants will need to be changed. A shoulder replacement is like anything man-made, capable of wearing out in your lifetime, and occasionally the implant may wear out earlier than expected or may stop working e and require revision replacement.
Revision replacement in the shoulder is complex, as there is a relatively little bone to work with compared to a joint like a hip, and revision replacements do not usually function as well as the initial implant. At times there can be insufficient bone to revise the implant which will result in very poor shoulder function and symptoms. Due to these risks, it is imperative to make sure a shoulder replacement is the right operation for you, and the decision-making process will involve an extensive discussion with Mr Jarrett.