Marc Darrow, MD, JD
Marc Darrow MD,JD

Many people come into our office with a history of failed shoulder surgeries. Some will be in our office because they are exploring options to the “final” surgical recommendation, a total shoulder replacement. For some, with the history of failed surgery, they have obvious concerns. Being a failed should surgery patient myself, I would have concerns too about another surgery.

Can people who had previous failed glenohumeral arthroscopic shoulder surgery have a successful shoulder replacement?

A June 2021 paper (1) examined if people who had a failed arthroscopic shoulder surgery would be at risk for a failed total shoulder replacement. In this study of 56 patients all under the age of 70, doctors examined 19 patients had the arthroscopic surgery first then total shoulder replacement and 37 patients had the total shoulder replacement  without prior arthroscopic shoulder surgery to measure the failure rates of the surgery.

  • There were 4 patients (7.1%) who had failure, and failure rates did not differ significantly between the arthroscopic surgery first then total shoulder replacement (5.3%) and primary total shoulder replacement only group.
  • Additionally, 2 patients underwent revision arthroplasty because of trauma.
  • A total of 50 patients who did not experience failure (17 arthroscopic surgery first then total shoulder replacement and 33 primary primary total shoulder replacement) completed patient surveys at almost five years after their last surgery  measures with no significant difference between the arthroscopic surgery first then total shoulder replacement and primary primary primary total shoulder replacement.
  • Both groups improved significantly from preoperatively to postoperatively in all survery scores.

The conclusion of this research: “Patients with severe glenohumeral osteoarthritis who failed previous arthroscopic surgery benefited similarly from total shoulder replacement compared with patients who opted directly for total shoulder replacement.”

Do you have questions? Ask Dr. Darrow


1. Nolte PC, Elrick BP, Arner JW, Ridley TJ, Woolson TE, Tross AK, Midtgaard KS, Millett PJ. Total Shoulder Arthroplasty After Previous Arthroscopic Surgery for Glenohumeral Osteoarthritis: A Case-Control Matched Cohort Study. The American Journal of Sports Medicine. 2021 Jun;49(7):1839-46.

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