I have Advanced Arthritis and am Seeking Help. What Can be Done for Me?

Dear Dr. Millett,

I have grade 4 arthritis of the left humerus with continual inflammation. I need help to eliminate pain. What can be done to help me?

Thank you,

Arthritis of the shoulder is a common condition that affects millions of adults. The onset of arthritis can start early in adulthood and be the result of years of overuse, or the result of an earlier injury or accident. The pain you are feeling from your arthritis is the number one complaint I get from patients. A very limited mobility and decreased range of motion are also common symptoms. Shoulder replacement surgery is an effective option for many adults.

Depending on the severity of the arthritis of the shoulder and your age and overall health, a total shoulder replacement is an excellent option for patients with severe arthritis in the shoulder and I have performed many hundreds of these with excellent results. Currently, I use the latest technique, which is an anatomical total shoulder replacement that recreates the body’s own structures. Many times however there are options other than joint replacement which preserve the shoulder and alleviate pain. I also specialize in these minimally invasive, arthroscopic, joint-preserving techniques, and you indeed may be a candidate. Microfracture is one technique that can be used in conjunction with other techniques, such as scar tissue release, removal of loose cartilage, and correction of malalignment, to alleviate the pain and stiffness for arthritic shoulders. The CAM procedure (LINK) is another option for young patients who want to avoid a total shoulder replacement and who want to remain active and pain-free.
As you can imagine, there can be many different factors to consider for shoulder injuries such as yours. Furthermore, as you might expect there can be several treatment options and risks with benefits with each type that I would be happy to discuss with you.

Dr. Millett