40% of Shoulder Replacements in Patients Younger than 55 Fail by 10 Years!

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The web shows young and active people who are advertising shoulder replacements for clinics and manufacturers. But does that square with the research about young and active people and shoulder replacement recovery? First, total shoulder replacements are big surgery, and like hand joint replacement or an ankle joint replacement surgery, shoulder replacements can be problematic. The big issue is that the structure of a shoulder joint and a hip or knee have little in common. A hip is a deep socket joint where most of it’s stability comes from the way the joint fits tightly together. A knee is a hinge joint that has 90% of it’s motion in one front-back direction. However, a shoulder is a shallow joint that moves through more range than a hip and gets it’s stability mostly through muscles which can be quite weak and banged up in the average patient considering a shoulder replacement. So it comes as no surprise that a recent study showed that for patients under 55, about 4 in 10 shoulder replacements failed and had to be redone by 10 years after the surgery. This means that for some patients in their early 50s who get a shoulder replacement, several more surgeries are on the horizon to remove and re-install new shoulder joints. The upshot? If you’re younger with shoulder arthritis, getting your shoulder replaced early in life may not be the best timing. 

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Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications. View Profile

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