Reverse shoulder replacement surgery helps some

WEST PALM BEACH — Some Florida doctors and their patients are having success with a procedure called "reverse shoulder replacement."

The surgery is for patients with extreme shoulder pain.

The shoulder is a ball and socket, and in a typical shoulder replacement, a surgeon puts in a new ball and socket. In the reverse shoulder replacement, the surgeon puts a socket where the ball was and a ball where the socket was. The doctor implants a titanium stem in the upper arm and attaches a cobalt chrome ball to the scapula, where the socket used to be.

The procedure received Food and Drug Administration approval only in 2004, so it's relatively new in the United States, although European doctors have been doing reverse shoulder replacements for two decades.

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