man suffering from shoulder hemiarthroplasty

When is Shoulder Hemiarthroplasty Recommended?

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man suffering from shoulder hemiarthroplastyHemiarthroplasty refers to a shoulder replacement procedure in which a broken humeral head (the “ball” at the top of the upper arm bone) is replaced with an artificial joint. There are several conditions that can lead patients to consider shoulder joint replacement surgery.


In this blog, NYC shoulder specialist, Dr. Francis Mendoza will explain when a shoulder hemiarthroplasty is recommended.


What are some of the indications of shoulder hemiarthroplasty?

There are various indications for shoulder hemiarthroplasty. These can be divided into those that are indicated for acute fractures as well as those indicated for chronic shoulder disease.


Some of the general indications include:

  • Pain from glenohumeral osteoarthritis (osteoarthritis affecting the glenohumeral joint, which is the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder) where conservative treatment with sparring of the glenoid articular surface has failed
  • Any type of glenohumeral arthritis where there is inadequate glenoid bone and where a glenoid component would be indicated otherwise
  • Those at risk for loosening of glenoid components, such as younger patients or those who require heavy usage of the shoulder in question



Fracture indications for hemiarthroplasty include the following:

  • Neer three-part fractures (where the bone is fractured into 3-4 parts and two pieces are displaced by at least 1 centimeter) when poor bone quality makes an open reduction and internal fixation less likely to succeed
  • Neer three- and four–part fractures (where the bone is fractured in three or more parts and at least two of them are displaced by at least 1 centimeter) with accompanying dislocation of the head of the humerus


What are the chronic shoulder diseases that may be indications for shoulder hemiarthroplasty?

In addition to fractures, some diseases of the shoulder may be indications for hemiarthroplasty. These include:

  • Primary osteoarthritis of the glenohumeral joint
  • Inflammatory joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis
  • Arthritis which is the result of shoulder joint instability
  • Avascular necrosis (a condition in which the bone begins to die due to poor blood supply) of the humeral head
  • Rotator cuff tear arthropathy, or an irreparable rotator cuff tear in conjunction with glenohumeral osteoarthritis
  • Glenohumeral chondrolysis, which is rare but sometimes occurs after other shoulder interventions
  • Tumors requiring resection of the humeral head


What are some reasons for shoulder replacement?

There are several reasons that shoulder replacement surgery may be recommend, such as:

  • Severely reduced range of motion in the shoulder or weakness which interferes with normal activity
  • Extreme shoulder pain that interferes with day-to-day activities
  • Moderate to severe shoulder pain that persists even when at rest; this can disrupt sleep
  • Those who have tried conservative, nonsurgical treatments without success are typically good candidates for shoulder replacement surgery.


Looking for shoulder replacement surgery in the NYC area?

At your appointment, Dr. Mendoza will do a thorough physical examination during which he will evaluate your pain level, range of motion in the joint, and muscle strength in order to decide which option is the best for you.


If surgery is necessary, Dr. Mendoza will assess which type of surgery will be most effective. If you’re suffering from chronic shoulder pain, weakness, or reduced range of motion, contact Dr. Mendoza today to set up your consultation.

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