Mayo Clinic researchers report that shoulder replacement can be helpful for rheumatoid arthritis patients with severe shoulder pain and limitations that can't be relieved with medication or physical therapy. While hip and knee replacements are the more common joint replacement procedures performed, researchers found good results among a group who had shoulder replacement.
Of more than 300 rheumatoid arthritis patients who had a shoulder replacement, 93% did not require further surgery on the joint 10 years later. That was the case also for 88% of patients receiving a partial shoulder replacement. The report appears in the February 2014 issue of the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.
While about 900,000 people in the U.S. have hip or knee replacements each year, 53,000 had shoulder replacement surgery in 2011. That's considerably less, but researchers are now saying that shoulder replacement has improved and it now is a reliable option.
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