In shoulder replacement surgery, the painful surfaces of the damaged shoulder are resurfaced with artificial shoulder parts. The part that replaces the ball consists of a stem with a rounded metal head. The part that replaces the socket consists of a smooth plastic concave shell that matches the round head of the ball. When both sides of the joint are resurfaced, we call it a total shoulder replacement. However, your doctor may determine that only the humeral side of the joint (ball) should be resurfaced. We call this a partial shoulder replacement.
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In a conventional shoulder replacement a metal ball is used on the top of the arm bone and a plastic socket is used on the shoulder blade. Our body is also designed in a similar fashion with a ball-and-socket shoulder joint.Likewise, the reverse shoulder replacement also uses a ball-and socket but in a reverse manner. Here the ball is put on the shoulder blade, and the socket is put above the arm bone. The name reverse shoulder replacement is thus used because it is a reverse method compared to our normal anatomy.