Shoulder Replacement Specialist

Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine

Michael L. Blackwell, MD


If you suffer a severe shoulder injury that’s beyond repair, or you have serious arthritis, shoulder replacement could be your best option. Michael Blackwell, MD, at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Tomball and The Woodlands, Texas, is a highly skilled orthopaedic and sports medicine specialist who has considerable expertise in carrying out joint replacement surgery. For more information, call the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today or request an appointment online.

Shoulder Replacement Q & A

Why would I need a shoulder replacement?

You might need to have a shoulder replacement operation if you have chronic shoulder pain or instability in the joint for which there are no alternative treatments.

Treatment for shoulder pain typically begins with conservative approaches such as physical therapies and moves on to joint injections and slightly more invasive procedures if the initial approach isn’t successful.

However, certain shoulder injuries aren’t treatable using these methods, and for some people, more conservative measures don’t have the required effect. Surgery then becomes the logical next step.

What causes shoulder pain?

The condition most often responsible for shoulder pain is osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease). Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear condition that develops over the years, so it most commonly affects people over the age of 50. 

It happens when the cartilage on the ends of the bones in your shoulder begins to wear away. The bones then start rubbing against one another, causing irritation that leads to inflammation, and then pain.

Osteoarthritis is incurable, but conservative treatments often prove useful initially. In time, these treatments can lose their effectiveness for some patients, which is when shoulder replacement becomes something to consider.

Other conditions that could result in the need for shoulder replacement surgery include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Rotator cuff tear arthropathy
  • Avascular necrosis (osteonecrosis)
  • Severe fractures
  • Failed previous shoulder replacement surgery

You wouldn’t necessarily need to replace the entire joint, as sometimes one part of the shoulder joint is still healthy enough to keep. In this case, Dr. Blackwell at the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine performs a partial shoulder replacement (hemiarthroplasty).

How is shoulder replacement carried out?

Dr. Blackwell uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques to carry out your shoulder replacement surgery wherever possible. The first step is to remove any damaged pieces of your shoulder. Once all the damaged sections, bone fragments, and surplus tissues are gone, Dr. Blackwell can prepare the surfaces of the bones for the artificial joint.

The two parts of your shoulder joint are the head of your humerus (arm bone), which is shaped like a ball, and the glenoid (socket) in the shoulder blade. Dr. Blackwell replaces one or both of these depending on whether you need a total or partial shoulder replacement.

Following your shoulder replacement surgery, you need to undergo physical therapy regularly to help build up strength in your shoulder and keep it flexible.

To find out more about shoulder replacement surgery, call the Center for Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine today or request an appointment online.