Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I'm trying to decide whether to have a partial or total shoulder replacement. Is one better than the other or just different?


Removing and replacing the entire shoulder joint is done 10,000 times each year in the United States. The most common reason for shoulder replacement is advanced osteoarthritis.

Whether to replace part or all of the joint remains a hotly debated topic among orthopedic surgeons. Long-term studies (10 to 20 years) aren't available yet. Short-term studies (two to five years) show good results for both.

Most often the surgeon makes the decision during the surgery. The joint and surrounding soft tissues are examined. The type and amount of damage helps the surgeon decide what's best. Then the correct size of implant is chosen and implanted.

Ian K. Y. Lo, MD, FRCSC, et al. Quality-of-Life Outcome Following Hemiarthroplasty or Total Shoulder Arthroplasty in Patients with Osteoarthritis. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. October 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 10. Pp. 2178-2185.

*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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