Shoulder Hemiarthroplasty/ Humeral Head Resurfacing Denver
What is a Shoulder Hemiarthroplasty?
A shoulder hemiarthroplasty, also known as a humeral head resurfacing or partial replacement, is a shoulder replacement where only the humerus portion of the shoulder joint is replaced and the glenoid portion is not changed. Surgeons typically recommend a partial shoulder replacement rather than a traditional total shoulder in patients that have a good amount of cartilage remaining on the glenoid bone, a severe loss of bone on the glenoid, or for younger and more physically active individuals that would be at risk for the glenoid component loosening prematurely due to their activity level. Shoulder hemiarthroplasties are also done in patients that have severe fractures of the humeral head but have no loss of cartilage on the glenoid.
What Can I Expect after Surgery?
Most shoulder replacement patients will spend one to two nights in the hospital to work on gentle range of motion with a physical therapist, activities of daily living (dressing, showering, etc) with an occupational therapist, and to find an adequate pain medication regimen. The majority of shoulder replacement patients go home after leaving the hospital but some require a short stay at a rehabilitation facility if they will not have enough support at home after discharge. Case managers evaluate each patient’s situation and will arrange any home care that may be necessary.
Most surgeons will have their patients wear a sling for at least the first few weeks after surgery. The incision is typically in the front of the shoulder and is usually around six to eight inches long. Based on the nature of joint replacement surgery, most patients experience a moderate amount of bruising and swelling of their surgical arm and occasionally the chest. Every patient has a different pain tolerance after surgery but almost everyone requires pain medication for at least the first few weeks postoperatively. The first follow-up appointment in the surgeon’s office is typically seven to ten days after the surgery.
What is the Rehabilitation after Shoulder Hemiarthroplasty?
A structured rehabilitation program is crucial for any total shoulder replacement surgery to be successful. Most shoulder surgeons have their preferred postoperative physical therapy regimen but each rehabilitation program is designed and adjusted based on the patient’s unique physical ability, surgery performed, and progress throughout the program. The rehabilitation programs for traditional, reverse, and partial total shoulder replacements typically follow the same general protocol with gentle range of motion beginning the day after surgery. More aggressive physical therapy is added several weeks after surgery and most patients will continue with therapy for three or more months postoperatively.
How Long Does a Shoulder Replacement Last?
With advances in surgical techniques and shoulder implants, a shoulder replacement may provide 15-20 years or more of functional life and pain relief.