The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The round end of the arm bone fits into the opening at the end of the shoulder blade, called the socket. This type of joint allows you to move your arm in most directions.

For total shoulder replacement, the round end of your arm bone will be replaced with an artificial stem that has a rounded metal head. The socket part (glenoid) of your shoulder blade will be replaced with a smooth plastic shell (lining) that will be held in place with a special cement. If only 1 of these 2 bones needs to be replaced, the surgery is called a partial shoulder replacement, or a hemiarthroplasty.

Shoulder replacement surgery is usually done when you have severe pain in the shoulder area, which limits your ability to move your arm.

Causes of shoulder pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Poor result from a previous shoulder surgery
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Badly broken bone in the arm near the shoulder
  • Badly damaged or torn tissues in the shoulder
  • Tumor in or around the shoulder

After surgery, you may be allowed to resume activities such as golfing, riding a bike, swimming, walking for exercise, dancing, or cross-country skiing (if you did these activities before).

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