New Surgery for Shoulder Arthritis

Armen Hareyan's picture
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For 30 years, orthopaedic surgeons have been doing total shoulder replacements using a metal ball and a plastic socket. But while total shoulder replacement has proven to be a successful treatment for advanced shoulder arthritis, the artificial components are not designed to withstand some of the demands that active individuals place on them, particularly over many years.

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"As more and more people continue participation in sports and other recreational activities into their older years, we are seeing the artificial components wear out, particularly the plastic sockets," said Dr. Frederick A. Matsen III, chairman of the Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine at the University of Washington.

Matsen and his UW colleague, Dr. Kevin Smith, have developed an alternative surgery that removes the cartilage damaged by arthritis and provides a smooth and stable surface without insertion of the plastic socket.

The socket is not replaced, but is refinished in a way that gives a smooth surface and a shape that matches the metal ball. The UW doctors have dubbed their procedure

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