Most Younger Shoulder Replacement Patients Return to Sports

    A study presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that 96.4% of recreational athletes age 55 and younger who underwent total shoulder arthroplasty (TSA) returned to at least 1 sport within 7 months of surgery.

    The repetitive movements of various sporting activities can cause early osteoarthritis in younger patients, resulting in the need for shoulder replacement.

    In this study, the researchers conducted a retrospective review of 61 patients who underwent TSA. The average age at the time of surgery was 48.9 years (ages 25 to 55), and most of the shoulder damage (80.3%) was caused by osteoarthritis. Nearly 68% of patients said they hoped to return to sports following surgery.

    Among the study highlights:

    • Ninety-three percent of patients were satisfied with the outcomes of their surgery, and 96.4% (55 out of 57 patients) returned to at least 1 sport at an average of 6.7 months following surgery.
    • The direct rates of return to sports included: fitness sports (97.2%), golf (93.3%), singles tennis (87.5%), swimming (87.5%), basketball (75%), and flag football (66.7%).
    • More than 90% of patients returned to a high-demand sport, and 83.8% returned to a sport that required high use of the arms and shoulders.
    • There was no significant difference in the rate of return to sport by body mass index, sex, age, preoperative diagnosis, revision status, and/or dominant extremity.

    “Our results evaluated patients at an average of 5 years of follow-up, and most patients continued to be very satisfied and performed a high number of sporting activities, including those that required high use of their shoulders,” said study author Grant Garcia, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in New York.

    “This information is important as it demonstrates that total shoulder arthroplasty may be a good option in younger patients who are indicated for a shoulder replacement.”


    Garcia G, Liu J, Wu HH, et al. High satisfaction and return to sports after total shoulder arthroplasty: age 55 and younger. Presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, March 14-18, 2017, in San Diego, California.