January 14, 2014
1 min read

Shoulder replacement improves range of motion, reduces rheumatoid arthritis pain

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Shoulder replacement surgery improved range of motion and reduced pain in nearly all cases of rheumatoid arthritis, especially when patients had an intact rotator cuff, based on study results recently published in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.

Using the data in the Mayo Clinic Total Joint Registry, researchers studied 30 patients with rheumatoid arthritis who underwent shoulder replacement surgery at the Mayo Clinic and were followed up for at least 5 years.

Among patients with a primary TSR, researchers found 96% were alive and had no need to undergo further arthroplasty on the affected shoulder at 5 years after the procedure, and at 10 years after the primary TSR 93% of patients were alive with no need for additional surgery.

However, among patients who underwent partial arthroplasty, 89% had no need for further arthroplasty at 5 years and 88% of them required no further surgery after 10 years, according to the study's results.

Overall, patients with intact rotator cuffs did better after shoulder replacement than patients who had damaged rotator cuffs.

"The data from this study suggest that shoulder arthroplasty is a predictable and durable operation to improve function and relieve pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis,” John Sperling, MD, MBA, professor of orthopedic surgery at Mayo Clinic, told Orthopedics Today. "Among patients with an intact rotator cuff, the outcome with total shoulder arthroplasty was significantly better than hemiarthroplasty."

Disclosure: Sperling receives royalties from Biomet. Cofield, a co-author, receives royalties from Smith & Nephew.