Hemiarthroplasty of the shoulder refers to a surgical procedure in which “half” of the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint is resurfaced with a special prosthetic piece while the other half remains intact. Shoulder hemiarthroplasty is performed as an alternative to total shoulder replacement, which replaces all of the shoulder joint’s articulating surfaces.
To learn more about hemiarthroplasty, or to schedule an appointment with Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeon Dr. Steven W. Meier, please contact Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine in Los Angeles at 310.736.2793.
Replacing the Surfaces of the Shoulder
Shoulder hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure that is sometimes done to repair damage to the humeral head. The humerus is the upper arm bone, running from the shoulder down to the elbow, and the humeral head is the upper part of the humerus where the humerus connects to the articulating surface of the scapula, called the glenoid process. These two surfaces (the humeral head and the glenoid process, or the ball and the socket) comprise the shoulder joint. Shoulder hemiarthroplasty is done by replacing the humerus head with a prosthesis in order to create a pain-free, undamaged surface to articulate with the other half of the shoulder joint on the scapula.
This type of shoulder surgery is typically done for one of three reasons: joint damage or arthritis, complications arising from a rotator cuff tear, or proximal humerus fracture. Arthritis refers to inflammation in the joints, which often leads to pain and stiffness. A rotator cuff tear happens when the tendons in the shoulder become detached from their insertion place on the head of the humerus. A proximal humerous fracture refers to a break in the upper part of the upper arm bone.
Hemiarthroplasty of the Shoulder Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the difference between hemiarthroplasty and total shoulder replacement?
A: Total shoulder joint replacement (also called arthroplasty) is a type of surgery that that replaces both of the shoulder joint’s articulated surfaces – the humerus head (ball) and the glenoid process (socket) with prosthetic implants. Hemiarthroplasty (literally “half arthroplasty”) is a type of surgery that leaves the original socket intact and only replaces the shoulder joint “ball.”
Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages of hemiarthroplasty?
A: The primary advantages of hemiarthroplasty enable the patient to avoid potential problems coming from having an artificial shoulder socket. The disadvantage of hemiarthroplasty is that the socket of the shoulder, if its damage worsens or progresses, may continue to cause the patient pain, requiring another surgery in the future.
Q: How do I know if I need a total shoulder replacement or hemiarthroplasty?
A: The best way to determine what type of surgery would best suit your needs is to visit a top-level orthopedic surgeon such as Dr. Meier and his team. You can contact us today to schedule an appointment.
Q: How successful is hemiarthroplasty?
A: In most cases with eligible candidates in otherwise good health, hemiarthroplasty is quite successful. However, you should talk to a doctor before the surgery and be sure you’re aware of all the potential side effects, dangers, and drawbacks.
Q: What will happen during my surgery?
A: The procedure generally takes about three hours to complete. To start, an incision is made in the shoulder’s front, exposing the damaged joint. The damaged humeral head is then removed, and the prosthesis is affixed to the bone and the entire thing replaced into the socket.
Q: What should I expect during shoulder surgery recovery?
A: Most patients are able to return to work and other light activities within a few weeks after the surgery. However, certain activities, including lifting heavy objects, should be delayed for approximately six months after the procedure to allow the bone to properly heal.
Contact a Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgeon
Would you like to learn more about the difference between hemiarthroplasty and total shoulder replacement? Our expert staff in Beverly Hills is standing by to answer your questions and help you schedule an initial consultation to see Dr. Meier. You don’t have to live with joint pain any longer. Contact us today by calling 310.736.2793 or by filling out our online contact form.
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