Failed Shoulder Implants

What is a failed shoulder implant?

Shoulder physicians at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush, a Chicago-based physician's group awarded by U.S.News & World Report as the top orthopedic group in Illinois, are experts in knowing when a shoulder patient needs an implant. Shoulder implants are used when surgery is necessary to relieve pain or restore movement to the shoulder joint, a procedure known as shoulder replacement surgery. Shoulder implants are used to replace the humeral head of the upper arm bone, or after the resurfacing of the glenoid of the shoulder socket.

It is important to realize that implants are medical devices and while most of the time they outlive patients, there are conditions that can lead to mechanical failure. Shoulder implant failure can occur due to wearing and potential loosening. This happens as a result of bone erosion, bone loss, or a reduction of bone size. Cases of shoulder implant failure should be discovered and diagnosed in post-surgery follow-ups.

What can be done to prevent failed shoulder implants?

After patients have shoulder replacement surgery, they should follow their doctor's orders and undergo rehab with certified physical therapy professionals who allow for the correct amount of movement, exercise, and rehabilitation of the shoulder. Not following an appropriate rehab regimen can increase the chances of implant failure. On the other hand, engaging in physical activity too quickly can also lead to instability of the joints and failed implants.

What is the treatment for failed shoulder implants?

Ten years ago, there wasn't a treatment for patients with failed shoulder implants. Patients often learned to live with less mobility and flexibility of their arms and shoulders. But today, there is a procedure, called reverse shoulder replacement surgery for patients who have had failed shoulder implants or rotator cuffs. MOR physicians were involved in the design of the reverse implant and also participated in clinical trials for the reverse shoulder replacement surgery. This new procedure is changing lives for failed shoulder implant patients.