My doctor is advising me to have a partial shoulder joint replacement. I just can't decide. What if it doesn't work? What if I'm worse off than I am now? At least now I can get along, even if I can't do a lot of things I'd like to do.

Research shows there are some ways to tell if a partial shoulder replacement (called hemiarthroplasty) will be successful. First, age and sex don't seem to make any difference. The condition of the healthy joint and surrounding muscles is much more
important.

If you have a smooth socket and healthy rotator cuff your chances of a good result improve greatly. If you've never had surgery on that shoulder before, you're more likely to have a successful operation.

Almost all patients report pain relief and increased comfort and function after hemiarthroplasty. The operation has been around long enough now that the results are better and better all the time.

Talk with your doctor about your concerns. Ask if there's any reason why you can't delay or postpone the operation until you're absolutely ready to do it.

Reference: 

Carolyn M. Hettrich, MD, et al. Preoperative Factors Associated with Improvements in Shoulder Function after Humeral Hemiarthroplasty. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. July 2004. Vol. 86-A. No. 7. Pp. 1446-1451.

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