Replacement arthroplasty in the weight-bearing shoulder of paraplegic patients

Authors: C. Garreau De Loubresse, MD, M.R. Norton, FRCS(Tr & Orth), P. Piriou, MD, PhD, G. Walch, MD

References: J Shoulder Elbow Surg 2004 Jul-Aug;13(4):369-72

We review the early results of shoulder arthroplasty in the weight-bearing shoulder of long-term paraplegic patients. We have been unable to find previously published results of this subgroup of shoulder arthroplasty patients in the literature. Five paraplegic, female patients who had undergone shoulder arthroplasty were analyzed. All patients had been prospectively assessed with the American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons (ASES) function score and the Constant score. The mean age at the time of surgery was 70 years. Three shoulders had full-thickness rotator cuff tears, and two were repaired at the time of shoulder arthroplasty. The mean preoperative Constant score was 30 out of 100, improving to 52 out of 100 at a mean follow-up of 30 months (range, 24-36 months). The mean preoperative ASES function score was 28 out of 55, improving to 37 out of 55. One patient was pain-free after surgery, and the mean postoperative pain score was 10 out of 15. There were no features of progressive radiolucency around the glenoid or the humeral components at last review apart from one case in which glenoid implant migration occurred. In view of the satisfactory improvement in terms of pain, mobility, and independence, we believe that it is reasonable to continue to offer this procedure to this subgroup of patients. We will, however, remain vigilant with regard to any further complications arising in these prostheses in the medium to long term as a result of increased loading.


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