Young and middle-age adults tend to interpret chronic shoulder pain as the result of athletic and overuse injuries and shrug them off. But a subset of those patients under age 50 can't easily shrug away the pain, because it hurts too much.
A new Mayo Clinic study presented today concludes that those 50 and younger who experience chronic shoulder pain related to arthritic changes in the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint can benefit markedly in terms of pain relief and improved mobility from shoulder joint replacement surgery. The procedure is known as arthroplasty. Typically, arthritic degeneration of the shoulder joint is expected in people 65 years and older. How joint replacement affects a younger patient group was not known until this Mayo study.
The Mayo Clinic team studied the outcomes of 23 total shoulder arthroplasties performed between 1986 and 2005 and 10 procedures that replaced only the humeral head. All patients were 50 or younger and had chronic shoulder pain caused by arthritis. All patients were followed for two years after surgery to determine outcomes.
- Long-term pain relief was significant.
- Key motions were improved, such as raising the hands above the head.
- Five patients needed more surgery, known as revision surgery, because of arthritic changes and/or infection.
Commented John Sperling, M.D., lead orthopedic surgeon on the Mayo team, "For the young patient with shoulder arthritis, clinical outcomes are favorable for both total shoulder arthroplasty and partial arthroplasty in terms of pain reduction and improved motion — but revision rates are high."
Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeons presented this research at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) in Las Vegas, Feb. 25-March 1.
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