Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Performed at SWLEOC by leading UK surgeons



A reverse shoulder replacement is performed when the patient has severe pain and reduced movement from shoulder arthritis often caused by a large rotator cuff tear.

Why would I need a Reverse Shoulder Replacement?

Arthritis and pain within the shoulder with a torn rotator cuff


Pain not controlled by non-surgical measures

Loss of function of the shoulder

What happens during the procedure?

1. You will be fully assessed to check you are physically well enough for surgery

This starts with the consultation with your surgeon in clinic.  You will then attend a pre-assessment clinic where you are assessed by a specialist nurse and sometimes an anaesthetist if you have other medical problems. You may require some additional blood tests and investigations before your surgery. You will have a chance to ask questions about your anaesthetic and what happens before and after surgery.

What happens during the procedure?

2. A general anaesthetic and usually a regional anaesthetic are used so you do not feel the surgery 

This is the preferred method to ensure you do not feel any pain after the surgery but still breathe for yourself which helps you to recover more quickly after the surgery. You will have a chance to discuss the anaesthetic before the surgery.

What happens during the procedure?

3. The old worn out shoulder joint is removed and a new artificial joint is inserted (speak to your surgeon about the implants).

The surgeon and their team will meticulously prepare the shoulder prior to surgery and apply sterile drapes over the joint. A careful incision is made in the skin and the shoulder joint is exposed. The old worn out head is removed and the socket is cleared of arthritis. A new socket and head are inserted.

What happens during the procedure?

4. The joint is checked thoroughly for movement and stability. The muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint are repaired

Once the new joint is inserted the surgeon very carefully assesses the movement and stability of the new shoulder to check that it will function well for you before they fully insert the final shoulder. Once the final shoulder is inserted everything is cleaned and the muscles and tendons around the shoulder are repaired.

What happens during the procedure?

5. The incision will be closed and waterproof dressings applied

What happens during the procedure?

6. The arm will be placed in a sling

What happens during the procedure?

7. You return to the ward and are helped to manage the sling by the physios.

You will spend some time in recovery after the operation. As soon as you are well enough you will be transferred to the ward. On the ward you will be seen by the physios and nurses and as soon as possible. You will have a check xray on the day of the surgery or the day after to confirm the position of the new shoulder and will return home after 1-2 nights stay when it is safe for you to do so.


All surgical procedures have risks associated with them, some of the specific ones are listed below. You will have a detailed discussion with your surgeon and there is a video to watch below.

  • Failure to relieve symptoms (Continued pain)(less than 10%)
  • Blood clots in the leg or lung (Less than 0.5%)
  • Stiffness (frozen shoulder) (1 in 100)
  • Loosening needing further surgery (0.3%)
  • Infection (2.5%)
  • Dislocation (5%)
  • Nerve damage (less than 1 in 1000)

Recovery time

3 weeks
3 weeks in a sling.

8 weeks

8 weeks basic range of motion work with the physiotherapist

3 months

3 months strengthening

Information videos