Partial shoulder replacement, also called shoulder hemiarthroplasty, is a surgical procedure during which the upper bone in the arm (humerus) is replaced with a prosthetic metal implant, whereas the other half of the shoulder joint (glenoid or socket) is left intact.
Indications for Partial Shoulder Replacement
Partial shoulder replacement is usually indicated for a severe fracture or certain arthritic conditions of the shoulder, in which only the humeral head or ball of the joint is damaged and the glenoid socket is relatively normal or intact. It is also sometimes used in younger patients when placement of an artificial socket may not be ideal or is to be avoided. Alternate bearing surfaces are sometimes used for the humeral head, including pyrocarbon or ceramic, hoping that these may not cause as much wear to the remaining native glenoid socket. Long term the main problem with hemiarthroplasty is that the ball may tend to wear into the native socket, eventually causing pain and stiffness. If this occurs another operation to replace the socket may be required.