Shoulder Replacement


Bone Spur
Arthritic Shoulder. Ball and socket joint has become rough with bone spurs.

Shoulder replacement surgery is an increasingly common and successful treatment for debilitating arthritis of the shoulder. In fact, shoulder replacement surgery is the fastest growing segment of joint replacement surgeries performed in the United States. Patients typically have a 92% chance of having a successful result after shoulder replacement, including substantial pain relief and better shoulder strength and motion.1 A recent study showed that shoulder replacement typically involves a shorter hospital stay and far fewer potential complications than hip or knee replacement.2 As many as 89% of patients go on to participate in sports after shoulder replacement.3

X-ray of total shoulder replacement.  Metal shows up as white.  Ball and stem recreate normal anatomy to humerus (ball).  Plastic socket is invisible on xray and shows up as a space between metal ball and bone.
X-ray of total shoulder replacement. Metal shows up as white. Ball and stem recreate normal anatomy to humerus (ball). Plastic socket is invisible on xray and shows up as a space between metal ball and bone.

Patients may consider shoulder replacement surgery when non-operative treatments, such as therapy exercises and cortisone injections, do not provide relief of symptoms. Patients may feel that their quality of life in their daily activities has been affected significantly. Shoulder replacement surgery involves removing the arthritic ball and arthritic surface of the socket from the shoulder joint. Bone spurs are removed as well to allow smooth motion of the shoulder implant.

Diagram of total shoulder replacement.  Metal ball sits on top of small stem placed in canal of humerus bone.  Plastic socket replaces arthritic surface on shoulder socket.
Diagram of total shoulder replacement. Metal ball sits on top of small stem placed in canal of humerus bone. Plastic socket replaces arthritic surface on shoulder socket.

Dr. Nigro uses the most advanced and minimally invasive techniques for shoulder replacement. He has completed an additional year of fellowship training focusing specifically on shoulder replacement surgery and arthroscopic surgery. During surgery Dr. Nigro will remove the arthritic surfaces of the socket of the shoulder joint. A biocompatible alloy stem with a smooth prosthetic metal ball is size matched to each shoulder individually. This is then fixed into the humerus bone and a highly cross-linked polyethylene socket is fixed into the socket of the shoulder joint. This provides a new joint surface to allow smooth motion of the shoulder.

Patients typically have drastically reduced pain shortly after the procedure and initiate a course of physical therapy after the first postoperative visit to regain full strength and mobility. Furthermore, patients can expect that their shoulder replacement will last a long time. Shoulder replacements have durability that is comparable to that of hip and knee replacements with 85% of shoulder replacements lasting 20 years or more. 1

  1. Total shoulder arthroplasty: long-term survivorship, functional outcome, and quality of life. Deshmukh AV, Koris M, Zurakowski D, Thornhill TS.
  2. Shoulder arthroplasties have fewer complications than hip or knee arthroplasties in US veterans. Fehringer EV, Mikuls TR, Michaud KD, Henderson WG, O'Dell JR. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010 Mar;468(3):717-22
  3. Sports activity after anatomical total shoulder arthroplasty. Schumann K, Flury MP, Schwyzer HK, Simmen BR, Drerup S, Goldhahn J. Am J Sports Med. 2010 Oct;38(10):2097-105

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