Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

At what point do the doctors decide to replace a joint like the shoulder. Mine's been hurting for what seems like forever, but my doctor says that he doesn't think a shoulder replacement would help.

Answer:

Joint replacements can be a wonderful life-changing surgery. By removing the painful joints and replacing them with mechanical ones, people can regain proper movement with little pain. However, joint replacements are not for everyone. The treating doctor has to assess if the injury or deterioration in your shoulder is something that would be fixed by a replacement - not all shoulder problems are. The doctors also have to look at risk when assessing if a patient is medically well enough to undergo surgery and if providing surgery may or may not cause complications. Finally, some doctors want patients to wait as long as they can before performing a replacement because the new joints have a certain life span and the doctors would prefer to avoid having to do a second surgery down the line, if at all possible. If you are not happy with your care, perhaps you should seek a second opinion and you may ask the doctor as many questions as you feel are necessary. Derek Cuff, MD, et al. Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty for the Treatment of Rotator Cuff Deficiency. In The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. June 2008. Volume 90. No. 6 Pp. 1244-1251.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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