Back to the Medical Report Library

As one of the top Michigan orthopedic hospitals and with nationally renowned joint care and foot and ankle programs, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland serves as a model for hospitals across the country. Our Michigan doctors specialize in everything from custom knee replacement to hip replacements to shoulder injuries and even wrist fractures.

Richard Bartholomew, DO
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
Orthopedic Surgeon
View Profile

THE FACTS ABOUT Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty


Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty is a unique approach to correct a damaged rotator cuff and advanced degenerative joint disease of the shoulder in cases where routine total joint replacement will relieve pain, but will not restore normal motion. Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty changes the orientation of the shoulder so that the normal socket is replaced with an artificial ball and the normal ball is replaced with an implant that has a socket into which the artificial ball rests. This type of design changes the mechanics of the shoulder and enables the artificial joint to function when the rotator cuff is absent or when there is significant bone loss.

Podcast Posted: 03/31/2008

The shoulder is a modified ball-in-a-socket joint, with a ball being the rounded portion of the upper arm and the socket being a shallow dish-shaped structure attached to the shoulder blade. Because the shoulder needs a great range of motion, the cup side does not surround the ball, and is dependent of strong ligament structures for stability and motion. “Patients who are candidates for this procedure are commonly around the age of 60 or older and experience significant pain and limitations of function,” says SJMO orthopedic surgeon, Richard Bartholomew, DO.


Further signs and symptoms that may require Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty are when the rotator cuff no longer prevents cartilage from rubbing on bone or when degenerative joint disease wears off the protective covering of cartilage of the joint, so that the remaining surfaces of the bone rub against one another. Patients may also consider this procedure if they had a previous shoulder replacement that had failed.

Choosing to use the Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty not only relieves pain within the shoulder, but also restores a greater range of motion than normal shoulder arthroplasty. This procedure also enables the artificial joint to function when the rotator cuff is absent or when there is significant bone loss, because it allows the patient to use the deltoid muscle to lift the arm. Additionally, Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty is a useful option for patients that have had a previous shoulder replacement fail, due to rotator cuff tendons that are chronically torn and cannot be repaired.

The Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty procedure is not for everyone with shoulder pain and irritation. The risks are the same as for any invasive procedure; the risk of anesthesia, wound infection, blood
loss, and the risk of developing blood clots.

Please contact the SJMO referral line at 800.372.6094 for an orthopedic surgeon near you.




Shoulder Arthritis
Matt Bahu, MD
Posted: 01/12/2009
Minimally Invasive Total Shoulder Replacement
Richard Bartholomew, DO
Posted: 07/20/2009
Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty
Richard Bartholomew, DO
Posted: 03/31/2008
Knee Arthroscopy
Andrew Ciarlone, DO
Posted: 01/19/2009
Bruce Henderson, MD
Posted: 09/10/2007
Hip Resurfacing
Safa Kassab, MD
Posted: 08/10/2007
  Page: 1 2 3  Next