Shoulder Replacement Surgery

The shoulder joint can be replaced by an artificial shoulder or shoulder replacement for pain caused by arthritis or when the shoulder is severely fractured or broken. Arthritis can be caused by fractures, rheumatoid disease, torn rotator cuff tendons or just by wear and tear over time.

Although shoulder joint replacement is less common than knee or hip replacement, it is just as successful in relieving joint pain.


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.

For shoulder joint replacement, your surgeon will make an incision (cut) over your shoulder joint to open up the area. Then your surgeon will:

  • remove the head (top) of your upper arm bone (humerus)
  • cement the new metal head and stem into place
  • smooth the surface of the old socket and cement the new one in place
  • close your incision with staples or sutures
  • place a dressing (bandage) over your wound

When to consider shoulder replacement surgery

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

Get patient-centered orthopedic care from CHI Franciscan Health

The first step in treating any orthopedic condition is to schedule a consultation with a specialist. Your primary care doctor may refer you to one or you can get a referral to a specialist on staff at CHI Franciscan by calling 1-888-825-3227 or find an orthopedic surgeon near you.

Attend a free Health Talk

One of the best ways to better understand your condition and meet a physician on staff at CHI Franciscan is to attend a free health talk. There, you can get your questions answered by one of our leading orthopedic specialists and get more information on the latest treatment options for joint replacement, foot and ankle pain, back ailments, sports medicine and more. View a list of upcoming talks.