Private Orthopaedic Surgery

Shoulder Resurfacing Procedure

Shoulder resurfacing, also known as shoulder resurfacing arthroplasty or humeral head resurfacing, is a surgical procedure performed to address certain shoulder conditions, particularly those affecting the humeral head (the ball-shaped part of the upper arm bone). This procedure aims to preserve the natural anatomy of the shoulder joint while alleviating pain and restoring function.

During a shoulder resurfacing procedure, the damaged or diseased surface of the humeral head is removed and replaced with a prosthetic cap or resurfacing implant. The implant is typically made of metal, such as cobalt-chromium alloy or stainless steel. This approach differs from a traditional total shoulder replacement, where both the humeral head and the glenoid (the socket portion of the shoulder joint) are replaced.

The ideal candidates for shoulder resurfacing are typically younger patients with specific conditions, such as osteoarthritis, avascular necrosis, or post-traumatic arthritis, where the damage is limited to the humeral head. The procedure may not be suitable for individuals with extensive damage to the glenoid or those with conditions that affect the rotator cuff.

Benefits of shoulder resurfacing may include reduced pain, improved shoulder function, and a quicker recovery compared to total shoulder replacement. However, the procedure is not as commonly performed as total shoulder replacement, and long-term outcomes are still being evaluated.

It’s essential to consult with an orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in shoulder surgery to determine if shoulder resurfacing is the most appropriate treatment option for your specific condition. They will evaluate your symptoms, conduct imaging tests, and consider your overall health to provide personalised recommendations.

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Shoulder Resurfacing Procedure FAQs

Shoulder resurfacing, also known as humeral resurfacing arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure that involves replacing the damaged or diseased surfaces of the humeral head (the upper arm bone) with a metal prosthesis. The goal is to restore the normal function of the shoulder joint while preserving as much of the natural bone as possible.

Candidates for shoulder resurfacing are typically individuals with shoulder arthritis or other conditions that cause pain and limited mobility. It is often considered for younger patients who have good bone quality and wish to maintain an active lifestyle. However, the final decision on whether someone is a suitable candidate is made by an orthopedic surgeon based on a thorough evaluation of the patient’s condition.

In shoulder resurfacing, only the damaged surfaces of the humeral head are replaced, while the natural socket (glenoid) is preserved. Total shoulder replacement, on the other hand, involves replacing both the humeral head and the glenoid socket with artificial components. Shoulder resurfacing is generally a more conservative option that aims to preserve bone and provide a more anatomical reconstruction.

Shoulder resurfacing offers several potential benefits, including pain relief, improved range of motion, and restoration of shoulder function. It preserves more bone compared to total shoulder replacement, which may be advantageous if revision surgery becomes necessary in the future. Additionally, resurfacing can provide a more natural-feeling joint due to the preserved anatomy.

The recovery process can vary depending on the individual and the extent of the surgery. Generally, patients will need to wear a sling for a few weeks to protect the shoulder and allow for proper healing. Physical therapy and rehabilitation are crucial components of the recovery process and can help restore strength, flexibility, and range of motion. Your surgeon will provide specific guidelines and a personalized rehabilitation plan.

As with any surgical procedure, shoulder resurfacing carries some risks. These can include infection, blood clots, nerve or blood vessel damage, fracture, dislocation, implant loosening or failure, and limited improvement in pain or function. It’s important to discuss the potential risks and complications with your surgeon before undergoing the procedure.

The longevity of a shoulder resurfacing prosthesis can vary from patient to patient. While they are designed to be durable, factors such as patient activity level, overall health, and the quality of bone-implant integration can affect the lifespan of the prosthesis. On average, the prosthesis can last for approximately 10 to 15 years, but some patients may require revision surgery earlier, while others may have longer-lasting results.