Does Age Factor into Shoulder Replacement Outcome?

    A study from Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, suggests that age may not be a discernible factor in the success of shoulder replacement surgery.

    In a prospective study of 365 patients presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, researchers made a surprising finding: Although younger patients had better function and range of motion before surgery, older patients experienced greater improvement from preoperative levels after surgery. Younger patients also had a higher complication rate.

    The researchers theorized that the older patients had greater improvement simply because they had worse shoulder function before surgery.

    “Much like we saw with hip and knee replacements, we are seeing an increased trend in shoulder replacement surgery,” says Kelechi Okoroha, MD, a fifth-year resident in Henry Ford’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery and the study’s lead author.

    “Our study suggests that age is not have a noticeable factor in the final outcome of surgery. However, older patients see more improvement in their shoulder function than what they had prior to surgery.”

    Dr. Okoroha and his colleagues analyzed data and shoulder function scores from 2 patient cohorts with osteoarthritis who had surgery: 262 patients under age 65 years and 103 patients older than 75 years. Patients older than 75 showed greater improvement in shoulder function scores after surgery.