Your shoulder has been irritating you for a while now, and physical therapy doesn’t seem to be cutting it. You can’t reach for your coffee cup without wincing, let alone reach the top shelf of your kitchen cupboard.

It’s time for a change.

At the Columbus Shoulder Doc, shoulder specialist Dr. Thomas Kovack can help. He’s one of the best shoulder surgeons in the area, and he’s more than open to surgery alternatives that will relieve your pain and extend the health of your shoulder.

Many surgeons will recommend a complete total shoulder replacement for any patient facing glenohumeral arthritis. Dr. Kovack, however, recognizes this isn’t the answer for everyone. Age and activity level should both be taken into account in order to choose the right procedure. In today’s blog, we’ll focus on humeral head resurfacing (HHR), a shoulder surgery alternative we offer right here in Columbus. Reach out to us with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

How does humeral head resurfacing work? How is it different?

Conventional shoulder replacement — total shoulder arthroplasty — has been performed longer than humeral head resurfacing has, but they work similarly. Total shoulder arthroplasty has consistent, good results for end stage osteoarthritis, and is therefore frequently used on patients who are older than 60. These patients typically don’t put as much strain and pressure on their shoulders.

What if you’re younger? What if you’re older than 60 but very active? That’s where, Dr. Kovack believes, humeral head resurfacing can work as an effective shoulder surgery alternative.

A metal cap is sized to and placed on the patient’s specific anatomy. The implant is “press fit,” meaning it’s coated and textured so it can “grow into” the bone. This is different than total shoulder arthroplasty, which involves a metal humeral implant with a stem and a ball, instead of a smaller cap, being inserted inside the humerus (upper arm bone).

What are the benefits of humeral head resurfacing?

Here at the Columbus Shoulder Doc, we see various benefits to this shoulder surgery alternative:

  • Humeral head resurfacing is much less invasive than traditional shoulder replacement surgeries. You, as the patient, will have a smaller incision and less bone removed. This will lead to a quicker, more comfortable recovery.
  • If you need a total shoulder arthroplasty in the future when you’re older, it will be less invasive because of the work that has already been done.
  • It allows you more mobility and strength, which is especially beneficial if you’re young or live an active lifestyle.

Of course, this shoulder surgery alternative isn’t for everyone (just as total shoulder arthroplasty also isn’t for everyone). Sometimes the benefits of a traditional shoulder surgery or of another shoulder surgery alternative can outweigh the benefits of humeral head resurfacing.

If you’re unsure — or even if you think you know what you want — we recommend you visit the Columbus Shoulder Doc. We’re the Top Rated Local® in the area for shoulder, elbow and knee care, and we’re more than happy to help recommend procedures, talk you through the process and get your shoulder healthy once more.