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How are muscles affected in a reverse total shoulder replacement?

The shoulder’s rotator cuff is comprised of four main muscles – subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor. These muscles work together with the humerus, scapula, clavicle, humeral head, and glenoid fossa to give you range of motion. Another shoulder muscle, the deltoid, works together with the rotator cuff to allow you to move your arm without excess motion that would pop the joint out of place.

Before getting into details about how the muscles are affected during surgery, it’s important to know that, generally, Dr. Thomas Kovack performs a reverse total shoulder replacement for patients in Columbus that have arthritis in the humeral head. Shoulder arthritis can cause severe pain and, therefore, lack of mobility.

The operation begins by making an incision from the collar bone down the arm. This exposes the shoulder. Next comes the release of the rotator cuff tendon to give visibility to the joint. Following the extrication of arthritis from the humeral head, the rotator cuff tendon must be repaired and protected by the four muscles listed above.

Next comes the healing.

Since the rotator cuff tendon must be released to allow access to the joint, it requires intense physical therapy exercises to retain previous strength and performance. The four muscles protect this tendon during healing. By continuing to strengthen the subscapularis, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and teres minor, you are creating a stronger community for the rotator cuff tendon to heal. If you neglect to exercise your shoulder, you risk further damage to the tendon. Of course there is a specific schedule that determines the rate of exercise that works in accordance with your body rather than to harm it further. Check out our previous blog of proper shoulder recovery exercises and timeline for more information.

So you see, the muscles in your rotator cuff are an integral part of healing from a reverse total shoulder replacement surgery. Take care of yours for the best healing.

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