Risks and Complications of Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Risks and Complications of Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Risks and Complications of Reverse Shoulder Replacement


Reverse shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure that has become increasingly popular in recent years for treating shoulder pain and limitations caused by degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. But like any surgery, it comes with significant risks and potential complications that you should be aware of before making a decision. In this article, we are going to examine some of the primary risks and complications associated with reverse shoulder replacement, so that you can make an informed decision about whether it is the right choice for you.



As with any surgical procedure, when inserting a prosthesis in your shoulder joint, there is a risk of infection occurring. When an infection occurs, it can lead to symptoms such as fever, chills, and redness and swelling around the surgical area. In some cases, additional surgical intervention may be required to clear up the infection, which can be both costly and uncomfortable.

Nerve Damage

One of the essential nerves that run through the shoulder, the axillary nerve, can become damaged during a shoulder replacement surgery. Damage to this nerve can result in shoulder weakness or paralysis, which can affect the overall movement of your upper arm. It is important to discuss the possibility of nerve damage with your surgeon before surgery and inquire about their experience to reduce the chances of nerve damage occurring.


A reverse shoulder replacement is designed to prevent the shoulder joint from popping out of the socket when raising your arm. However, there is still a chance that the shoulder joint could become dislocated. This is particularly true when the arm is positioned in certain ways that put additional stress on the joint. To reduce the risk of dislocation, you should carefully follow any post-operative recommendations from your surgeon and physical therapist.


Hematomas are pockets of blood that collect in or around the surgical area, and are a common risk associated with surgery. This condition can lead to swelling, pain, and stiffness around the joint post-surgery. While a hematoma typically resolves on its own within a few weeks, severe cases may require intervention.

Loosening or Fracture of the Prosthesis

Over time, the prosthesis can loosen from the socket or sustain a fracture that requires additional surgery to repair or replace. Your surgeon will monitor you for signs of loosening and fracture, such as pain or diminished range of motion in the affected arm. While complications of this nature are rare, they are possible and should be considered when making a decision about surgery.



While reverse shoulder replacement can offer relief from pain and improve your overall quality of life, it is also a major surgery and involves significant risks and complications. Each person's experiences and circumstances are different, so it is crucial to consult an experienced orthopedic surgeon before any procedure. If you are seeking for an orthopedic surgeon in Debary, FL, Contact Central Florida Bone and Joint Institute today to schedule an appointment. We will provide you with a comprehensive evaluation and an honest opinion about whether reverse shoulder replacement is the best option for you.