Roughly 35,000 Americans undergo shoulder replacement surgery every year. The first such operations were performed in the 1950s in patients who had sustained a severe shoulder fracture. Since then, shoulder replacement has evolved to treat a wide range of conditions, including fractures and arthritis.
The shoulder consists of the humerous (upper arm bone), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collar bone). The ball or head of the humerous fits into the shallow socket of the scapula, or glenoid. Areas where the surfaces of the bones touch are covered in cartilage. All remaining surfaces inside the shoulder are covered with a synovial membrane, which secretes a small amount of fluid to lubricate cartilage and eliminate friction between the bones. Muscles and tendons provide stability and support.
Shoulder replacement surgery is performed when pain-relieving medications and activity changes no longer alleviate shoulder discomfort. Conditions that may necessitate the procedure include:
Patients in need of shoulder replacement surgery have a number of options:
As is the case with any procedure, shoulder replacement surgery is sometimes associated with serious complications, including:
A study published in the June 2016 issue of the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery suggested that reverse total shoulder replacements are associated with higher rates of complications and failures in the early post-op period compared to traditional total should arthroplasty. The findings were based on a comparison of 6,658 traditional procedures to 4,186 reverse surgeries performed in California from 2011 to 2013.
The analysis indicated that the all-cause complication rate at 90 days and 2-years post-op was significantly higher for patients who had undergone reverse total shoulder replacements. Patients who underwent reverse procedures also had a significantly increased risk of infection and dislocation during the early and midterm post-op period. However, failure rates for the two types of surgeries equalized at approximately the 1-year mark. Read More
In February 2016, a $350,000 settlement was reported in a lawsuit involving complications allegedly associated with Biomet, Inc.’s Comprehensive Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement system. According to court documents filed in the U.S. District Court, District of Colorado, the case had been brought on behalf of a plaintiff who received two Comprehensive Reverse Shoulders in 2009 and 2010. Fracture of the prostheses resulted in their eventual removal and replacement. The lawsuit claims that the failures were the result of components named in a 2010 Biomet shoulder recall.
The case had been scheduled to go to trial on February 29, 2016, but the trial date was vacated as a result of the settlement. Read More
Get the latest news and litigation updates about this case by following us on Facebook. Click the "Like" button below.