Shoulder replacement surgeons in Denver

When you need shoulder surgery, HealthONE provides joint replacement programs throughout the Greater Denver area. Our shoulder replacement surgeons perform procedures to decrease pain and restore range of motion in your shoulder. We also offer comprehensive care throughout your journey to recovery, including preoperative education and postoperative rehabilitation.

For more information about HealthONE's shoulder replacement programs, please call (303) 575-0055.

Anatomy of the shoulder joint

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, which is made up of several parts:

  • The humeral head (the ball)
  • The glenoid (the socket)
  • The rotator cuff (a group of muscles and tendons that hold the ball and socket in place)

The humeral head of your humerus (upper arm bone) rests inside the glenoid in your shoulder blade. In a healthy shoulder joint, there is cartilage between these bones that allows them to move and rotate without friction.

However, in a damaged shoulder joint, the cartilage may get worn away or the rotator cuff may become weak. These conditions cause shoulder discomfort because the joint is no longer properly cushioned or functioning as it should.

At HealthONE, we are dedicated to fixing these issues and improving your joint health. To do this, our teams provide orthopedic care that includes advanced diagnostics, treatments and rehabilitation programs.

Candidates for shoulder replacement surgery

Our orthopedic team will perform a physical exam and imaging tests as well as review your medical history to determine if you are a candidate for joint replacement surgery.

You may be considered for a shoulder replacement if one or more of the following conditions are present:

  • Advanced arthritis or other joint conditions (typically shown on X-rays)
  • Decreased range of motion in your shoulder, making daily activities, such as dressing and grooming, difficult
  • Difficulty reaching over your head or behind your back
  • Pain in the front, back or top of the shoulder
  • Pain preventing restful sleep at night
  • Pain that is not relieved by conservative methods of treatment, such as injections, medications or therapy
  • Popping, catching or grinding in the shoulder joint during movement
  • Radiating pain down the upper arm
  • Weakness that makes carrying and lifting objects difficult

Types of shoulder replacement surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery replaces a worn shoulder joint with prostheses (implants) made from metal and/or plastic.

Shoulder replacement surgery options include:

  • Partial shoulder replacement
  • Reverse shoulder replacement
  • Total shoulder replacement

The type of procedure that is right for you will depend on your unique anatomy, medical history and bone quality.

Partial shoulder replacement

A partial shoulder replacement is commonly referred to as a shoulder hemiarthroplasty or humeral head resurfacing. During this procedure, only the humerus component is replaced. The glenoid component is not changed.

A partial shoulder replacement is typically recommended if you have a damaged humeral head but a good amount of cartilage remaining on the glenoid socket. For example, it may be performed if you have severe fractures of the humeral head but no loss of cartilage on the glenoid.

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery

Orthopedic surgeons at some of our hospitals also perform reverse shoulder replacements. In this procedure, the ball and socket components are switched.

If you have a damaged shoulder joint and an irreparable rotator cuff tear, a traditional shoulder replacement can leave you with continued pain and limited range of motion. The better option in this case is a reverse total shoulder replacement, which allows the deltoid muscle to lift the arm because the rotator cuff can no longer do so effectively.

Total shoulder replacement (shoulder arthroplasty)

A total shoulder replacement involves replacing both the humeral head and the glenoid with prostheses.

There are several different styles of total shoulder replacement implants that vary in size, shape, composition and fixation. However, one common shoulder replacement system design includes a plastic glenoid component and a metal humerus component. In this design, the humeral component consists of a metal ball attached to a metal stem, which is usually cemented into the top of the humerus bone. The metal ball fits within the plastic glenoid, allowing smooth motion of the shoulder joint again.

Rehabilitation after a shoulder replacement

Physical therapy and rehabilitation helps you regain range of motion and recover safely after shoulder replacement surgery. Our hospitals' inpatient therapy teams will begin rehabilitation as soon as possible while you are still in the hospital. If they recommend ongoing physical therapy as well, we can connect you with the resources to complete this type of program.