Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


My husband had a total shoulder joint replacement. During the operation, his upper arm bone fractured. How do they take care of this?


Fractures of the bone or cracks in the joint are not uncommon during this operation. Often, older patients with arthritis who need a joint replacement also have osteoporosis. The thinning, brittle bone breaks easily.

The treatment depends on where the break occurred and how serious it is. A small crack may only need a reduced or slowed rehab program after the operation. A large break may need screws or wires to hold it together while it heals.

Sometimes, the patient must be put in a sling. Restricting motion gives the fracture a chance to heal. This is the least desired treatment because immobility causes many other problems to occur.

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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