Shoulder Resurfacing

Shoulder resurfacing is an advanced procedure, performed by the expert physicians at Resurgens Orthopaedics, which provides an effective alternative to total shoulder replacement for active individuals seeking relief from joint pain.

Resurfacing the shoulder joint focuses on restoring the shoulder joint's functionality by fitting the humeral head with a metallic implant, preserving the patient's natural bone structure and facilitating a quicker recovery compared to a total replacement.

What You Need To Know About Shoulder Resurfacing

Shoulder Resurfacing Explained

Shoulder resurfacing, also known as humeral resurfacing, is a treatment option ideal for individuals experiencing shoulder joint pain due to conditions like arthritis or injury, but whose overall joint integrity remains largely intact. In the shoulder, articular cartilage covers the joint surfaces of bones, allowing them to glide smoothly against each other. When arthritis or an injury results in loss of or damage to the cartilage on the round humeral head, individuals experience pain and limited motion.

Unlike total shoulder arthroplasty (replacement), which requires the replacement of both the humeral head and the glenoid cavity, shoulder resurfacing involves shaving off the arthritic or damaged portion of the cartilage on the humeral head and covering it with a hemispheric metallic head. At Resurgens Orthopaedics, we can use a HemiCap® implant which is just one of our motion-preserving solutions designed to alleviate shoulder pain. Our experienced physicians will determine who is an ideal candidate for this procedure or if they're better suited for other corrective actions. Those who undergo shoulder resurfacing will retain more of their original bone structure, making it a less invasive procedure with a fast and smooth recovery.

The Conditions Shoulder Resurfacing Targets

Resurfacing of the shoulder joint is recommended for patients who are not yet candidates for total shoulder replacement. It specifically targets mild to moderate osteoarthritis confined to the humeral head and offers a viable solution for individuals also suffering from:

By resurfacing the damaged part of the humeral head with a metallic cap, this procedure aims to restore the anatomy of the shoulder and its function. Individuals who undergo this procedure often experience:

  • Long-lasting pain relief

  • Improved shoulder strength & mobility

  • A delay in the progression of arthritis

Advantages of this procedure include less surgical trauma, reduced risk of complications like fat embolus and fractures at the prosthesis tip, and a faster, less painful recovery process compared to a total shoulder replacement. Shoulder resurfacing can also be performed if the bone is deformed, and it facilitates an easier revision surgery, if necessary.

Shoulder Resurfacing Preparation

Preparing for a shoulder resurfacing procedure involves a series of important steps to ensure its safety and success. Here's a list of essential preparations:

  • Engage in Preoperative Strengthening Exercises: Enhance your physical condition to aid in both the surgery and recovery process. Ask your physician which exercises will be best for you.

  • Undergo a Thorough Medical Examination: Complete necessary blood work and imaging tests, and discuss your medical history (including all allergies) with your physician to minimize surgical risks.

  • Disclose All Medications, Vitamins, or Supplements: Tell your physician everything you're taking to avoid adverse interactions with anesthesia and other complications.

  • Stop Certain Medications: Your physician will advise you which medications you should stop prior to your procedure, like blood thinners, aspirin, or anti-inflammatory medicines.

  • Fast Before Surgery: Do not consume solids or liquids at least 8 hours before the procedure.

  • Arrange Transportation: Ensure you have someone to drive you home after your procedure.

By following these steps, you'll be well-prepared for your shoulder resurfacing procedure and will be more likely to enjoy a smooth, full recovery.

The Shoulder Resurfacing Process: From Preparation to Post-Op

The process of resurfacing the shoulder joint is an advanced, minimally invasive procedure that is rarely met with complications. Here is what to expect during shoulder resurfacing:

  • Step 1: Anesthesia - The patient is administered anesthesia to ensure comfort and painlessness throughout the procedure. The type of anesthesia used can vary based on the patient's health and the physician's preference.

  • Step 2: Preparation - The shoulder area is cleaned and sterilized. The patient is then positioned to allow the physician optimal access to the shoulder joint.

  • Step 3: Joint Inspection - Initially, the physician may use an arthroscope, a tiny camera, to inspect the joint and assess the damage. This allows for a detailed view of the joint surface on a monitor.

  • Step 4: Accessing the Joint - An incision is made at the front of the shoulder to expose the damaged humeral head and separate it from the shoulder joint.

  • Step 5: Preparing the Surface - A guide wire is inserted into the center of the damaged area. Special instruments are then used to size the area (remove the damaged cartilage) and prepare the surface for the implant, including placing a special screw at the base to anchor the HemiCap implant.

  • Step 6: Placing the Cap - The metal cap is inserted and seated on the anchor, effectively covering the damaged area and creating a smooth joint surface.

  • Step 7: End of Procedure - The ball of the humerus is repositioned back into the socket, and the incision is closed.

Post-procedure, the patient may either be admitted to the hospital or discharged home, depending on the physician's direction. Light activity is usually permitted immediately after the procedure. The entire procedure can take several hours, depending on the extent of the damage and the specific techniques used by the physician.

Understanding the Risks of Shoulder Resurfacing Surgery

While shoulder resurfacing is a highly effective procedure for alleviating pain and improving joint function, like all surgical procedures, it comes with certain risks. It's important for patients to be aware of these potential complications, though uncommon, so they can make informed decisions about their healthcare. Below is a list of risks specifically associated with the shoulder resurfacing procedure:

  • Infection: There's a risk of infection at the surgery site, which can extend to the joint if not addressed promptly.

  • Instability of the Joint Replacement: The new joint may become unstable, potentially requiring additional treatment or surgery.

  • Fracture: The humerus or glenoid bone can be fractured during or after the procedure.

  • Nerve Injury: Nerves near the surgical site can be injured, potentially affecting shoulder function.

  • Loosening of the Joint Replacement: Over time, the implanted joint may loosen, potentially leading to pain and reduced function.

  • Anesthesia Problems: Complications related to anesthesia, though rare, can occur during the procedure.

  • Hematoma or Blood Clots: There's a risk of developing hematomas (blood pooling) or blood clots, which can pose serious health risks.

Post Shoulder Resurfacing and Recovery

After a shoulder resurfacing procedure, the patient's arm will be immobilized in a sling, and they will be given a physical therapy regimen to follow. Physical therapy will be crucial for regaining strength and range of motion. Recovery protocols vary, but a sling is typically worn for up to six weeks, with at-home exercises recommended to enhance joint mobility. It's normal to experience some discomfort and limited movement initially, but these symptoms gradually improve with time and proper care.

At Resurgens Orthopaedics, our focus is on guiding you through seamless operation and recovery processes, ensuring you receive comprehensive care tailored to your unique needs. If you're exploring shoulder resurfacing as a solution to your joint pain, trust in the expertise and personalized approach of Resurgens Orthopaedics to help you regain your active lifestyle. Reach out to us today to learn more about how we can support your journey to pain relief and improved mobility.

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