Reverse shoulder replacement may be a better way to improve the joints function and reduce pain, especially if the joint is affected by arthritis. This operation is also called reverse arthroplasty. Artho means joint. Plasty means to mold surgically.
The top of the arm bone fits into a socket on the shoulder blade. In a typical shoulder replacement, a plastic lining is attached to the socket to allow smooth movement. The surgeon removes the top of the arm bone and inserts a metal stem with a ball on the end. However, if the rotator cuff is severely damaged, the joint may not be stable or work properly.
In a reverse shoulder replacement, the normal ball and socket structure is reversed. An artificial ball is attached to the shoulder blade. An artificial socket is attached to the top of the arm bone. The large deltoid muscle that covers the shoulder is typically able to move the arm.