Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


The doctor says I have “advanced stage” of shoulder arthritis. What does this mean?


Doctors use X-rays and other imaging studies to look at joints. Arthritis begins with damage to the lining of the joint that eventually leads to thinning of the joint space. The narrower the space, the more advanced the arthritis.

Other changes in the joint signal a worse condition. Bone spurs may form around the joint and prevent normal motion. The doctor may see cysts on either side of the joint, along with a flattening of the upper end of the humerus (upper arm bone).

Loss of motion, chronic partial or complete dislocation, and bone damage are All signs that point to a serious or advanced case of arthritis.

Joseph P. Iannotti, MD, PhD, and Tom R. Norris, MD. Influence of Preoperative Factors on Outcome of Shoulder Arthroplasty For Glenohumeral Osteoarthritis. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. February 2003. Vol. 85-A. No. 2. Pp. 251-258.

*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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