Effective shoulder surgery can be a long-lasting solution to certain symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, researchers have found. A new study out this week in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery found strong evidence to suggest that just one procedure may hold up for a decade or more without any need for further interventions:
Scientists from the Mayo Clinic found that 93 percent of rheumatoid arthritis patients who underwent a total shoulder replacement — in which both sides of a shoulder joint are replaced — needed no further surgery on the joint a decade later. The same was true for 88 percent of those undergoing a partial shoulder replacement.
“We were most happy to see the consistency of pain relief and improvement of function among patients,” said study author Dr. John Sperling, an orthopedic surgeon at the clinic in Rochester, Minn. “Shoulder replacement has come a long way over the past 20 to 25 years. It’s a one-hour surgery that requires one night in the hospital, and patients have a 90 percent chance of achieving excellent pain relief.”
And that last part is really the rub. One hour, one night, and you get a new ten-year lease on life.
My San Diego orthopedic surgery practice has long been at the forefront of sophisticated surgical techniques like these, informed largely by my personal experience as Chief of Sports Medicine at the University of California, San Diego.