Resurfacing is a type of shoulder arthroplasty that involves replacing the humeral joint surface with a metal covering, or cap, thus preserving the bone of the proximal part of the humerus. If the glenoid is also replaced, a current conventional polyethylene glenoid replacement prosthesis or an interposed soft-tissue graft is used.
The potential advantages of humeral resurfacing, as compared with conventional shoulder arthroplasty, are: (1) no osteotomy is performed (and thus the head-shaft angle does not have to be addressed); (2) minimal bone resection; (3) a short operative time; (4) a low prevalence of humeral periprosthetic fractures; and (5) ease of revision to a conventional total shoulder replacement, if needed.
Outcomes of surface replacement arthroplasty have been comparable with those of arthroplasties with a stemmed prosthesis in numerous short and mid-term follow-up studies.
Future studies are required to assess the long-term outcomes of humeral resurfacing and to evaluate alternative surface bearing materials, especially on the glenoid side.
Resurfacing appears to be a viable option for shoulder replacement, especially in young patients.