A new study has revealed that most shoulder replacements last more than a decade. It was carried out by the National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration South West Peninsula, and the University of Exeter. Known to be the largest study of its kind, it provides reassurance to patients and surgeons alike.
Here, we’ll look at what the new study revealed and what it means for shoulder replacement patients.
Understanding the new shoulder replacements study
The new study is known to be the largest of its kind, analysing data from almost 18,000 people who had undergone a shoulder replacement. The results of the study were published in The Lancet Rheumatology.
It was discovered that 90% of shoulder replacements were still working well 10 years on. Patients still believed that the surgery had benefitted their lives. It is the first study to simply answer how long shoulder replacements last and will the surgery provide long-term benefits.
Other recent studies have highlighted the benefits of shoulder replacement surgery for younger patients. Due to how long the results of the procedure last, it can particularly be highly beneficial for young athletes.
What is a shoulder replacement?
A shoulder replacement aims to replace all, or part of the shoulder joint with artificial components. There are different types of shoulder replacement surgeries including reverse, total and partial replacements.
In a reverse replacement procedure, it switches the position of the ball and socket. A metal ball is secured to the shoulder blade in place of the previous socket. A new socket is then secured to the top of the arm where the ball used to be. They both feature a stem which is cemented to the bone.
A total shoulder replacement, a new ball and socket are also inserted. However, they are placed in the same position as the old ball and socket. This helps to maintain the original structure of the shoulder.
Finally, a partial replacement simply replaces the ball of the joint. This will move naturally within the socket.
The type of shoulder replacement you need will depend upon the severity of the degeneration of the joint. There are also risks and complications of each procedure that the surgeon will go through with you during the consultation.
Are there alternatives to surgery?
There are some alternatives to surgery. Shoulder replacements are typically considered as a last resort. In some cases, physiotherapy, steroid joint injections and non-steroid anti-inflammatory medications may be effective. Keyhole surgery is also another alternative that may be suitable to some patients.
So, patients do have several options when treating degeneration of the joint. However, in terms of long-term success, shoulder replacements do show excellent results. The findings of this new study reassure surgeons of its effectiveness when used in patient treatment plans.