Orthopedics and Rehabilitation Center
192 Tilley Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403-4440
Shoulder Replacement at the UVM Medical Center
Conditions including arthritis, rotator cuff tears and fractures from falls or accidents can result in the need for shoulder joint replacement surgery, or arthroplasty. At the University of Vermont (UVM) Medical Center, our team pinpoints the cause of your shoulder injury with advanced imaging tools so we can develop a personalized treatment plan for you.
Our treatment goals include:
- Alleviating chronic shoulder and arm pain
- Preventing additional shoulder damage
- Helping to retain shoulder and arm mobility
Our Approach to Shoulder Joint Replacement
Our orthopedic specialists regularly treat shoulder damage in patients of all ages with basic or complex injuries. Features of our care include:
- Experience and expertise: We have more than 50 years of combined orthopedic expertise in joint replacement. Our specially-trained orthopedists successfully perform hundreds of joint replacement procedures each year. Our surgeons are all fellowship trained, which means they have advanced training in their field beyond medical school.
- Personalized treatments: Every shoulder injury is different, and not everyone will require surgery. We work with all of our patients to develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific health needs, including your age and severity of your shoulder damage.
- Advanced technology: Our surgeons use computerized modeling techniques to create 3D views of your shoulder. This helps to ensure proper placement of shoulder prosthesis during surgery.
- Spphisticated surgical room: Our orthopedic surgeons perform all joint replacement surgeries in a specially-designed surgical room. The room's ventilation system lowers infection risk by reducing airborne bacteria. Surgeons perform shoulder replacement procedures on a surgical table designed to provide easy access to the shoulder area.
- On-site physical therapy: Physical therapy is part of every patient's recovery. We make it easy and convenient for you with an on-site rehab facility and therapists who work closely with your physician. Our team also works with physical therapists outside of UVM Medical Center to ensure your recovery is successful.
Diagnosing a Shoulder Injury
Your physician may use X-rays, MRIs, CT scans or ultrasounds to determine the extent of your shoulder damage, including the condition of bone and soft tissues. At UVM Medical Center, our specially-trained musculoskeletal radiologists are actively involved in the imaging process from start to finish. The resulting high-quality, ultra-clear images enable physicians to precisely see the problem area, which helps us recommend the best treatment method.
Shoulder Replacement Surgery
During shoulder replacement surgery, our surgeons replace damaged parts of the shoulder with artificial components called prostheses. Depending on your injury, your surgeon may replace only the head of the humerus bone in your upper arm (the ball) or both the ball and socket.
Your physician may recommend surgery if:
- You experience significant weakness and loss of shoulder function
- Your shoulder pain is so severe that it interferes with routine daily activities, such as dressing yourself, reaching for items and sleep
- Your injury is due to severe trauma
- Your pain doesn't improve with nonsurgical methods, such as anti-inflammatory medications, cortisone injections or physical therapy
Surgeons at the UVM Medical Center use several approaches to repair injured shoulders. You and your physician will discuss which of the following surgery options will offer you the best results.
Total Shoulder Replacement
During this procedure, your surgeon places a smooth plastic cup onto your arm socket and replaces the head of your upper arm bone with a prosthesis that looks like a metal ball attached to a stem. The metal ball fits into the new plastic socket. Your surgeon may recommend this procedure if you do not have a rotator cuff tear or if your shoulder damage is due to osteoarthritis.
Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement
In this procedure, your surgeon places a plastic socket onto the head of your upper arm bone. Your physician then places a metal ball prosthesis into your bone socket. Your physician may recommend this procedure if you have a large, irreparable rotator cuff tear, have severe arthritis, or a previous shoulder replacement is failing.
Partial Shoulder Replacement (Stemmed Hemiarthroplasty)
Your surgeon replaces only the head of your upper arm bone with a prosthesis that looks like a metal ball attached to a stem. Your physician may choose this procedure if you have a healthy bone socket that doesn't need replacing.
Resurfacing Total Shoulder Replacement
With this procedure, your surgeon replaces only the head of the upper arm bone with a cap-like prosthesis that doesn't have a stem.
Physical Therapy for Shoulder Injuries
Physical therapy is an integral part of shoulder rehabilitation. We make recovery convenient for you with an on-site rehab facility. Our physical therapists will develop an individualized exercise plan for you to strengthen shoulder muscles and improve range of motion. Our team of specialists also works with physical therapists outside of UVM Medical Center to ensure your recovery is successful.
For information call us at 802-847-BONE (2663).