Hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure that replaces one half of the shoulder joint with a prosthetic while leaving the other half intact. This procedure is performed to treat severe or persistent cases of osteoarthritis in the shoulder in which the humeral head (considered the “ball” of the joint) is most affected while the glenoid (”socket” of the joint) is still in good condition.
Surgery is usually considered a last resort treatment for arthritis, as conservative treatments like rest and anti-inflammatory medication are often effective in managing symptoms, especially for younger patients. This procedure is most often performed on patients in the more advanced stages of arthritis.
Once the damaged head of the upper arm has been replaced, patients will notice significant symptom relief, as the bone ends will no longer rub together and cause the painful friction associated with osteoarthritis.
Although this procedure is effective in relieving pain and other symptoms for most patients, there are certain risks and complications associated with any type of surgery. Some of the complications associated with hemiarthroplasty include shoulder stiffness, instability, infection and nerve damage.