Question:Mom's shoulder replacement has come loose. The doctor says it's no problem to go back in and repair or replace the loose part. The first operation was no piece of cake. Should we be worried?
Answer:More and more people are having shoulder replacements. That means better results for everyone as surgeons become more familiar with the operation and as surgical methods improve. Implants will probably also get better as technology improves.
In the meantime, with more shoulder replacements, the number of problems can also go up. Revision surgery is possible but considered complex and difficult in many cases. The results of revision surgery may depend on the problem to begin with. Outcomes such as improved motion and function are less predictable if the muscles aren't balanced properly. Soft tissue reconstruction can be very technically demanding.
Loosening of the implant parts is the most common reason patients need a second operation. The socket side is more likely to come loose than the ball and stem side. The surgeon's decision about what to do is based on quality of bone stock at the time of the operation. Problems with infection or fracture of the bone or the implant can delay healing and complicate treatment.
Most, but not all, patients are satisfied after shoulder revision surgery. A stable shoulder with improved motion and function are usually the final outcomes.Joshua S. Dines, MD, et al. Outcomes Analysis of Revision Total Shoulder Replacement. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. July 2006. Vol. 88-A. No. 7. Pp. 1494-1500.
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