Arthroplasty is a surgical procedure to restore the function of a joint. A joint can be restored by resurfacing the bones. An artificial joint (called a prosthesis) may also be used.

Arthroplasty and Joint Replacement are the same procedure. 


In a reverse shoulder replacement, the normal ball-and-socket structure is reversed. An artificial ball is attached to the shoulder blade. An artificial socket is attached to the top of the arm bone. The large deltoid muscle that covers the shoulder is typically able to move the arm.


Depending on the severity of the problem with the joint and other factors, resection arthroplasty, interpositional arthroplasty or total joint arthroplasty may be performed.

In resection arthroplasty, the orthopedic surgeon removes a minimal amount of tissue surrounding the joint in an attempt to restore joint function. This may be successful as a first surgical treatment or interpositional arthroplasty can be done.

During interpositional arthroplasty the joint is surgically reshaped and, to provide better contact between the sides of the joint, a material (such as metal, plastic, ceramic or the patient’s own soft tissue) is positioned at the site where the joint articulates.

Total joint arthroplasty is a surgical procedure that replaces or treats both sides of the joint articulation or the total joint. Hemiarthroplasty is performed to treat a problem with just one side of a joint. Total joint arthroplasty is typically indicated after a conservative, nonoperative course of therapy has failed.


Various types of arthritis may affect the joints. Osteoarthritis, or degenerative joint disease, is a loss of the cartilage or cushion in a joint, and is the most common reason for arthroplasty.

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