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How do you determine a candidate for reverse shoulder replacement?

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An orthopedist orders X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, or a combination of imaging tests to determine whether a patient is a candidate for reverse shoulder replacement, states the Hospital for Special Surgery. Reverse shoulder replacement works best for people who suffer cuff tear arthropathy, says the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

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Patients who have completely torn, irreparable rotator cuffs or who suffer severe pain and difficulty with shoulder movement may be candidates for reverse shoulder replacement. Other patients include those who have tried medications, physical therapy and cortisone injections to relieve the pain but have no success, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Motion loss, stiffness and a grinding sensation often accompany the pain, explains the Hospital for Special Surgery. Imaging tests are used to evaluate the quality of the bones and structures of the shoulder, including the rotator cuff tendon.

Reverse shoulder replacement is a type of shoulder replacement that surgeons use to treat arthritis. The design of this surgery is based on how the ball of the shoulder rests in the socket instead of being locked into it. This means that the shoulder ball relies on the surrounding tendons to hold it in place and make it move, the Hospital for Special Surgery describes. The reverse shoulder replacement does not require the tendons to hold it in place and is moved with the deltoid muscle.

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