How Long does a Shoulder Replacement Last

Those affected by severe arthritis of the shoulder may find the answer to their pain in shoulder replacement surgery. Many studies show that patients who undergo this type of surgery are able to regain their shoulder function and quality of life.

It also means they can finally put an end to the ongoing pain that accompanies shoulder problems.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery is usually recommended after seeing a shoulder specialist or sports medicine doctor. These practitioners will examine all the options for relieving the pain of a shoulder condition, and will only recommend surgery if no other procedures are successful.

Of course, the main question for many patients is ‘how long does a shoulder replacement last?’. In most cases, shoulder replacement can last from 10-15 years to a few decades.

Shoulder replacement surgery involves resurfacing both the ball of the shoulder (also known as the humeral head) and the socket that it fits into (known as the glenoid). Although this sounds complicated, the success rate of treating the humeral area is good. The most common cause of problems are usually to do with the glenoid. However, new procedures are currently being studied, and several different types of glenoid implants have been trialed with better outcomes all the time.

Studies show that overall results from shoulder replacement surgery are excellent, with only 0.8% of patients requiring repeat surgery each year. This means that around 90% of shoulder replacements are still intact in the 10 years following surgery, and around 80% intact 20 years after.

Factors Affecting How Long Shoulder Replacement Last

Those asking how long does a shoulder surgery last should be informed that the success depends on several factors.

  • Age: Most patients who undergo shoulder replacement surgery are over the age of 65, which usually means that their new shoulder will last for the rest of their life. Younger patients, however, may place more stress on their shoulder, and “wear out” the prosthesis earlier.
  • Type of Replacement: Research shows that success rates vary by the type of shoulder implant used. This depends on whether a keel shape or 3-4 pegs are used. A keel means there is one slot for the glenoid which is created and allows the component to be cemented. Although this means easy preparation and insertion, it also has less rotational strength due to there being only one piece in the bone. If any portion of the cement fails, the entire replacement may fail. For this reason, many qualified sports medicine doctors recommend using a pegged component for total shoulder replacements.
  • Attachment To The Bone: Sometimes, a component is not cemented into place but relies instead on bone in-growth with the native glenoid. The technique reduces the need for cement, which may preserve bone quality and reduce surgery time. However, research has shown that this method is not yet as successful as pegged components.

So, how long does a shoulder replacement last?

The many factors affecting shoulder replacement surgery mean that every case is unique. However, studies point to a success rate of 90% at 10 years. It must be kept in mind that this is less common with younger patients.

Patients undergoing shoulder replacement are encouraged to discuss all their options with their sports medicine doctor or shoulder specialist in order to improve their chances of a long-term outcomes. If we haven’t answered the question “how long does a shoulder replacement last” then give us a call today!

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