Traditional shoulder replacement surgery isn’t always the right treatment for shoulder pain. Patients with large tears in their rotator cuffs or cuff tear arthropathy (wear and tear arthritis) can still end up in pain and with limited mobility.

Fortunately, there is another option. Reverse shoulder replacement surgery was created specifically to help these types of patients find relief from pain.

What is Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

With a standard shoulder replacement, the damaged humeral head is replaced with a metal ball and a plastic cup is placed in the shoulder socket.

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery is just the opposite; the metal ball is inserted into the socket and a plastic cup is attached to the upper end of the humerus.

Candidates for Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Standard total shoulder replacements are successful for patients with painful arthritis. But patients with other conditions may still have pain and limited mobility with a traditional replacement. Reverse total shoulder replacement is a better option for those with:

  • Fully torn rotator cuffs that can’t be repaired
  • Complex fractures in the shoulder joint
  • Chronic shoulder dislocation
  • Shoulder joint tumor
  • Rotator cuff tear arthropathy (wear and tear arthritis)
  • Previously unsuccessful traditional shoulder surgeries

A conventional shoulder replacement uses the rotator cuff muscles to function properly. For patients with damaged rotator cuffs, a reverse shoulder replacement relies on a different muscle (the deltoid) to move the arm. This helps patients find much-needed pain relief.



Auburn, NH Ambulatory Surgery Center

45 Dartmouth Dr.
Auburn, New Hampshire 03032

Dover, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

19 Webb Place
Dover, NH 03820

Rochester, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

120 Washington Street Suite 101
Rochester, NH 03839

Portsmouth, NH Orthopaedic Clinic (Walk-In Clinic)

155 Borthwick Avenue, Suite 102
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Raymond, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

6 Freetown Road
Raymond, NH 03077


The percentage of shoulder replacement surgeries that last at least 10 years.

Relieve Your Shoulder Pain

Our orthopaedic physicians can help you find relief from your shoulder pain and advise which surgical or physical therapy options are best for you.

Our staff understands and recognizes the importance of providing current and accurate workers’ compensation information and patient progress reports in a timely manner. Above all, our focus is on the recovery process and getting patients back to work quickly.

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Joshua A. Siegel, MD

Knee & Shoulder

Dr. Siegel is an award-winning surgeon with more than 20 years of experience. He is a US Olympic Committee team physician, a US ski team physician and covers USGA and PGA tour events. Locally, he is the team physician for several high schools, including Phillips Exeter Academy.

Meet Dr. Siegel

Benjamin Thompson, MD

Knee & Shoulder

Dr. Thompson is an award-winning surgeon, with team physician experience working with the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners, the Pro Bull Riders Tour and Worcester Polytechnical Institute football team.

Meet Dr. Thompson

Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the expected long-term outcome of reverse shoulder replacement surgery?

Reverse shoulder replacement surgery gives patients much-needed pain relief. Most outcomes include the ability to bend the elbow to reach into a cabinet and raising the arm just above shoulder height.

How long does the reverse shoulder replacement procedure take?

All surgeries will vary depending on the patient’s condition. Typically, the procedure will take around two hours.

How does the reverse shoulder surgical procedure work?

An orthopaedic surgeon makes an incision at the top or front of the shoulder. The damaged parts are removed and artificial components are inserted to mimic the natural functionality of the shoulder’s anatomy.

What are the artificial components used to replace the shoulder joint?

A metal ball is screwed into the shoulder socket. A plastic cup is then inserted into the upper arm bone. The metal and plastic work together to act in the same way as a natural shoulder joint.