Total shoulder replacement is a procedure to resurface both sides of your shoulder joint with implants meant to feel and function like your natural shoulder.

There are two types of total shoulder replacements – primary and reverse. The primary replacement, which involves replacing the ball and socket sides of the joint with parts that closely resemble the natural shapes of your bones.

While the procedure effectively relieves pain and improves function, it’s not appropriate for every situation. Dr. Dale Snead, an upper extremity injury specialist at Forté, helps break down the differences between a primary and reverse shoulder replacement and how to know when a reverse is the better option.

What is a reverse shoulder replacement?

To understand who benefits from a reverse shoulder replacement, it helps to understand the procedure itself. Like primary shoulder replacement, a reverse involves resurfacing both sides of the joint so that they still fit together like a ball and socket. However, the positions of the implants are reversed.

A metal ball implant is attached to your shoulder blade where the socket used to be, and a plastic socket liner fits at the end of your upper arm bone.

Who may need a reverse shoulder replacement?

While primary shoulder replacement only works for arthritis patients whose tendons are still intact. You may be a better fit for a reverse shoulder replacement if you:

A reverse procedure works well in these cases because you don’t need the full use of your shoulder muscles or tendons to stabilize your shoulder joint and help it function. Additionally, your surgeon doesn’t need as much healthy bone to work with while attaching your implants.

How do surgeons plan for and execute a reverse shoulder replacement?

Like primary shoulder replacements, Forté surgeons performing reverse procedures utilize new technology for patient-specific surgical planning. The first step involves taking a CT scan of your shoulder.

The CT image is used to create a 3D virtual model of your joint that will be used to simulate the surgery prior to your procedure. This enhanced surgical planning enables your surgeon to determine:

Your surgical team will also use the software to create a customized guide to help align the implants as planned during your shoulder replacement surgery.

“These patient-specific guides are vital,” says Snead. “I use them every time, with every patient, so that the components are in the best place for your unique anatomy and provide the best possible outcome.”

What can I expect after reverse shoulder replacement?

Like a primary procedure, patients with a reverse shoulder replacement typically experience complete pain relief; however, a reverse is not as effective at restoring function and strength. That’s because the same engineering that allows your muscles and tendons to work more effectively can also limit range of motion.

“The reverse procedure isn’t as good at restoring function as an anatomic replacement would be, but it’s a better range and quality of movement than the patient would have had,” says Snead.

How do I know when the time is right for a reverse shoulder replacement?

Choosing to move forward with a reverse shoulder replacement is a personal decision. While your surgeon can help you understand what would be appropriate for your situation, only you can decide when the time is right.

“When someone asks, ‘Should I do this?’, my response is to ask how much it affects you,” says Snead. “If pain keeps you up at night or you’re grumpy all the time, and no one wants to be around you, it might be time to try something different.”

“It’s rare to get too far where we can’t help you with your shoulder,” Snead says. “Reverse shoulder replacement allows us to treat patients with conditions that previously had no solution.”

To find out if you are a good candidate for reverse shoulder replacement, call 317.817.1200 to schedule a consultation.

You can also check out our additional resources for shoulder replacements:

CARMEL, Ind. (January 5, 2023): Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, previously known as Methodist Sports Medicine, announces the election of a new board president and officers, effective as of Jan. 1, 2023. Dr. Jonathan Smerek now serves as president of the medical group, with Dr. Dale Snead serving as vice president and Dr. Joseph Maratt serving as secretary and treasurer.

Smerek, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle reconstruction, brings vast experience to his new leadership role, including serving as a team physician in which he works as part of a highly collaborative group taking care of athletes. Before being elected president, Smerek served one term as vice president of Forté.

“I’m honored to have been selected to lead Forté and to keep building on all of the great achievements we’ve had during our 40 years of service to the community,” said Smerek. “I firmly believe that, like an athletic team, each member of a medical group contributes to the overall success of the organization. My main priority as president will be working with all team members to grow our practice and build out our centers of excellence in each specialty to continue to be a go-to for orthopedic care in Central Indiana and beyond.”

Smerek succeeds Dr. Mark Ritter, who served as Forté’s president for eight years and continues to serve the medical group as a physician. Ritter, one of three team physicians for the Indianapolis Colts, is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in orthopedic sports medicine, trauma, and knee and shoulder injuries. During Ritter’s tenure as president, Forté underwent a rebranding process, opened both a new clinic and a new orthopedic specialty hospital in Carmel, advanced its urgent care program, and added two new surgeons, among other successes.

“Dr. Ritter’s support of Forté, its physicians and staff has been steadfast, requiring many hours outside of his patient schedule and family time,” said Marty Rosenberg, CEO of Forté. “We will be forever grateful for his leadership, which not only continued the legacy Forté has established as one of the country’s original sports medicine practices but also built upon it.”

To learn more about Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, its services, and its accomplished team of physicians and staff, visit forteortho.com.

About Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, previously known as Methodist Sports Medicine, is an independent, physician-owned orthopedic practice recognized as one of the region’s most respected orthopedic groups. Founded in 1983 as one of the country’s original sports medicine practices, Forté’s physicians and staff provide comprehensive, specialized sports medicine and orthopedic care to patients of all ages.

Clinical evaluations performed by highly skilled fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, combined with advanced surgical techniques and comprehensive non-surgical treatment options, provide patients with exceptional treatment outcomes and a return to active living. Forté provides patients with expert orthopedic care in several sub-specialties, including hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder; foot and ankle; hip and knee; joint replacement and revision; spine care and sports medicine. Forté has been trusted by the Indianapolis Colts as their official team physicians since 1983 and serve as the orthopedic provider for Purdue University, Butler University, Indiana State University and numerous high schools and public safety departments throughout central Indiana.

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics also innovates daily through a separate 501(c)(3), Forté Orthopedic Research Institute, that improves the lives of patients everywhere through advanced clinical research and education.

WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue Athletics has entered into a partnership with Franciscan Health designating the regional health care organization as the exclusive medical services provider for the Boilermakers.

15-year hip and knee specialist Dr. Peter Maiers to serve Colts players, lead medical team

CARMEL, Ind. – The Indianapolis Colts are once again turning to Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, formerly known as Methodist Sports Medicine, to lead the team’s sports medicine roster. The Colts have named Forté’s Dr. Peter Maiers as the new head team physician. Maiers replaces Forte’s Dr. Thomas Klootwyk, who stepped down after 23 years with the team, including five as head team physician.

A fellowship-trained orthopedic and sports medicine surgeon who specializes in the treatment of the hip and knee, Maiers was elevated to the role of head team physician after serving the Colts for twelve years – eight years as a team consultant and four years as a team physician. Maiers also has experience as a team physician for Indiana University football.

“I would like to express my gratitude to Jim Irsay and the entire Irsay family for the opportunity to serve this great franchise by caring for the athletes,” said Maiers. “My goal as head team physician is to work with the team of sports medicine and medical specialists to maintain the respect of the players as Dr. Klootwyk has done so well over the years. We want the athletes to know we have their best interests at heart. Keeping them safe and healthy is our priority – now and for the benefit of their long-term health.”

Following the promotion of Maiers to head team physician, Dr. Dale Snead joins Dr. Mark Ritter as assistant team physicians. Ritter, who has served the Colts since 2020, is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in orthopedic sports medicine, trauma, and knee and shoulder injuries. Snead, also a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon, specializes in the treatment of shoulders, elbows, forearms and hands. Both surgeons have served athletes for many years at various area high schools and colleges/universities.

Klootwyk will continue to serve the Colts as a team consultant. Also continuing as team consultants are Forté physicians: Dr. Thurman Alvey III, a primary care sports medicine specialist focusing on concussions; Dr. David Porter, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle injuries; Dr. Lance Rettig, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in elbow, wrist and hand injuries; and Dr. Stephen Ritter, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon specializing in back and neck injuries.

“Our top priority always is to provide exceptional care for our players, and in Forté, we’ve found that same level of commitment from our physicians,” said Jim Irsay, Colts owner and CEO. “We look forward to continuing our work with Dr. Maiers and the Forté team as they use their world-class skill and experience to enhance the physical and mental health of our athletes.”

Fans who are interested in seeing the Colts in action this season can still purchase single-game tickets for regular season games at Lucas Oil Stadium at Colts.com/Tickets or Ticketmaster.com.

More information about Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics is available at forteortho.com.

About Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics, previously known as Methodist Sports Medicine, is an independent, physician-owned orthopedic practice recognized as one of the region’s most respected orthopedic groups. Founded in 1983 as one of the country’s original sports medicine practices, Forté’s physicians and staff provide comprehensive, specialized sports medicine and orthopedic care to patients of all ages.

Clinical evaluations performed by highly skilled fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeons, combined with advanced surgical techniques and comprehensive non-surgical treatment options, provide patients with exceptional treatment outcomes and a return to active living. Forté provides patients with expert orthopedic care in several sub-specialties, including hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder; foot and ankle; hip and knee; joint replacement and revision; spine care and sports medicine. Forté has been trusted by the Indianapolis Colts as their official team physicians since 1984 and serve as the orthopedic provider for Purdue University, Butler University, Indiana State University and numerous high schools and public safety departments throughout central Indiana.

Forté Sports Medicine and Orthopedics also innovates daily through a separate 501(c)(3), Forté Orthopedic Research Institute, that improves the lives of patients everywhere through advanced clinical research and education.

Our Forté Fast Orthopedic urgent care clinic in our Greenwood location will be closed on Thursday, February 29th.

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