Total reverse shoulder replacement: Diagnostic investigations
Candidates for a total reverse shoulder replacement will first have a plain x-ray and an MRI taken of their affected shoulder.
These investigations will be arranged if the individual presents with arthritis of the shoulder and a suspected torn rotator cuff.
In these situations, the plain x rays will show evidence of arthritis and “superior migration of the humeral head”. This means the humeral head, or ball of the shoulder, can be seen sitting high in the glenoid because the rotator cuff is no longer able to hold it centred in the glenoid or socket.
An MRI is also used in the diagnosis to assess the rotator cuff, specifically looking for chronic tearing, retraction and atrophy of the cuff.
Both of these findings confirm that a total reverse shoulder replacement is the best option to relieve pain and restore function.
Two examples of pre-operative x rays follow below. Both of these x rays show cuff tear arthropathy and superior migration of the humeral head.