Shoulder Joint Resurfacing

Younger individuals who are in the earlier stages of arthritis and have healthy bones are excellent candidates for this procedure

Shoulder joint resurfacing gives individuals with early to mid-stage arthritis relief from pain while still leaving open the possibility for them to have a total shoulder joint replacement at a later date. Advances in shoulder joint resurfacing now make it possible for orthopedic surgeons to resurface both the ball and socket of the shoulder joint. Previously, the technique was limited to the ball side, leaving the socket alone and as a result it did not provide the same amount of pain relief offered by a full shoulder replacement.

In a healthy shoulder joint, a smooth and slick tissue called cartilage covers the ends of the bones, which allows them to glide over each other as the joint moves. In those with arthritis, that cartilage is worn down which leads to pain, inflammation and stiffness in the joint as the rough surface of the deteriorated joint grinds against itself. Some people with arthritis might even feel that grinding in their shoulder joint while others may feel weakness, stiffness or have trouble with basic activities like throwing a ball.

Shoulder resurfacing is able to decrease that pain by replacing the area of the eroded cartilage with metal and plastic. This procedure is less invasive than total joint replacement in that patients retain the majority of their own tissue and have only the damaged portion of the joint replaced.  

New Orthopedic Surgery Technology to Match Your Individual Anatomy

This actual surgical procedure takes about one to two hours in the operating room. New technologies in orthopedic surgery make it possible for your surgeon to match the implant with the size and shape of your individual anatomy. The surgeon will smooth the surface of the joint and then cover that area with a cap without removing the rest of your shoulder joint. Most people stay in the hospital overnight following resurfacing surgery and then go through six weeks to three months of physical therapy.

Not everyone is a good candidate for this procedure. Individuals with arthritis which has resulted in massive deterioration in the joint; those who have sustained a fracture in which the shoulder joint cannot be repaired, and those with irreparable rotator cuff tears are more likely to be candidates for traditional shoulder joint replacement surgery.  However, younger individuals who are in the earlier stages of arthritis and have healthy bones are excellent candidates for the less invasive option of shoulder joint resurfacing.

Consultation with an Orthopedic Surgeon

If shoulder pain is at the point where it not only limits your ability to take part in normal activities but is also affecting your sleep, you may consider a consultation with an orthopedic surgeon. They will be able to assess your individual needs to determine if shoulder joint resurfacing is right for you.

Consultations can be arranged by calling 603-778-7975.