Shoulder resurfacing is an alternative to a total shoulder replacement, and is used widely for patients who are young and have active lifestyles. Rather than cutting and replacing the two bones (humerus and scapula) in the joint, the damaged top of the arm bone (the humeral head) is replaced with a hemispheric metallic head. This gives a new surface to the ball of the joint while allowing much of the natural bone to remain intact. The resurfacing prosthesis is affixed to the bone after the diseased or injured portion is removed.

Many surgeons consider this a more conservative procedure that can be less invasive than traditional total shoulder replacement.

Surgical Procedure

After the humerus head is separated from the shoulder, the damaged area is removed. The head is reshaped to fit the humerus implant, then the implant is attached to the reshaped humerus. It may be secured with bone cement. The repaired humerus is then placed back into the socket. After surgery, the arm is usually placed in a sling. Physical therapy will be needed to regain range of motion and increased shoulder strength.

This conservative procedure makes the technique less invasive than traditional shoulder replacement surgery. This technique may require a smaller incision and less bone removal, which allows for a quicker recovery and less pain.