Every year I see my doctor she wants to X-ray my shoulder replacement. I don't really want so many X-rays. Are they really necessary?
We still don't know how well total shoulder replacements hold up over time. X-rays give the doctor an idea if there's any loosening in the joint. This can be seen before the patient begins to have pain or loss of motion.
It's not clear yet from studies just how often screening X-rays should be taken. Is every year needed or is every two or three years often enough? Usually finding problems early and treating them saves the patient time, money, and discomfort in the end.
Dianne Bryant, MSc, PhD, et al. a Comparison of Pain, Strength, Range of Motion, and Functional Outcomes After Hemiarthroplasty and Total Shoulder Arthroplasty in Patients with Osteoarthritis of the Shoulder. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. September 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 9. Pp. 1947-1956.
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