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from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

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Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgical Video

The decision to have orthopaedic surgery requires serious consideration. The OrthoInfo Orthopaedic Surgery Video Series for Patients has been developed specifically for patients to help them learn more about common orthopaedic surgical procedures.

In this surgical video, Dr. George Athwal, OrthoInfo's section editor for Shoulder and Elbow, performs a reverse total shoulder replacement. This procedure is often recommended for patients with a complex type of shoulder arthritis called "cuff tear arthropathy." 

As the name implies, this surgery is the reverse of a conventional shoulder replacement in which a plastic "cup" is fitted into the shoulder socket (glenoid), and a metal "ball" is attached to the top of the upper arm bone (humerus).  In a reverse total shoulder replacement, the socket and metal ball are switched. The metal ball is fixed to the socket and the plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of the humerus.

This video is actual surgical footage recorded in an operating room and may not be suitable for all viewers.


Last Reviewed

March 2019

Contributed and/or Updated by

George S. Athwal, MD

Peer-Reviewed by

Stuart J. Fischer, MD

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS Find an Orthopaedist program on this website.