Shoulder resurfacing is a procedure that can be performed as an alternative to a total shoulder replacement in the right type of patient. Instead of replacing the humeral head and the glenoid cavity, shoulder resurfacing targets just the arthritic portion of the humeral head, replacing it with a hemispheric metallic head. Below, we take a closer look at this procedure and explain why someone might pursue it instead of a total shoulder arthroscopy.
Who Is A Candidate For Shoulder Resurfacing?
For older patients who are less active, a total shoulder replacement could be the perfect option to help them alleviate shoulder discomfort and still perform normal daily tasks with their arms. However, for younger patients or older adults who are still very active with their shoulders, a shoulder resurfacing procedure may be more ideal. Resurfacing tends to be a better option for younger or active individuals who want to alleviate pain and increase shoulder joint mobility, but they haven’t experienced enough degeneration to warrant a complete replacement. It’s oftentimes considered for patients with mild to moderate:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Post-traumatic arthritis
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Avascular necrosis
For the right patient, a shoulder resurfacing procedure can be the perfect way to decrease symptoms and prevent the larger recovery process that comes with a total shoulder replacement. Some other benefits of a shoulder resurfacing procedure include:
- Improved function
- Restores normal anatomy
- Decreased surgical risk
- Less trauma on the joint
- Faster recovery with less pain
- Simple revisional procedure if needed
- Can be completed even if the humeral head is deformed
How Is Shoulder Resurfacing Performed?
A shoulder resurfacing procedure is performed under general or local anesthesia and typically takes around two hours to complete. A small incision is made on the front of your shoulder in order to access the shoulder joint, and from there small instruments are inserted to carefully debride diseased or arthritic portions of the humeral head. Once the humeral head has been prepared, a hemispheric metallic surface implant is inserted onto the head, which remains intact.
If the socket of the shoulder joint also needs to be resurfaced, specialized tools will be used to reshape the glenoid surface of the shoulder blade. This allows for more normal range of motion inside the shoulder socket, helping to decrease pain and increase flexibility. Patients typically spend a night or two at the care facility before being discharged, and although a sling will be worn for around six weeks post-op, early exercise and physical therapy will be recommended to improve function and increase strength in the recovering shoulder. Many patients are back to full activities like golfing or lifting heavy objects within 6-12 weeks, although contact sports may not be allowed as they could damage the shoulder and lead to a more severe issue.
So if you believe shoulder resurfacing may be right for you, or you just want to learn more about your options for treating your shoulder discomfort, reach out to Dr. Holloway and his team today at (865) 410-7887.