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Instr Course Lect. 2014;63:85-93.

What went wrong and what was done about it: pitfalls in the treatment of common shoulder surgery.

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Chief Shoulder Service and Assistant Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC.


When performing revision shoulder surgery, it is important that the surgeon understands why the index procedure failed and has a clear plan to address problems in the revision procedure. The most common cause of failure after anterior instability shoulder surgery is a failure to treat the underlying glenoid bone loss. For most defects, a Latarjet transfer can effectively restore anterior glenoid bone stock and restore shoulder stability. Persistent anterior shoulder pain after rotator cuff surgery may be the result of missed biceps pathology. This can be effectively treated via a biceps tenodesis. The most difficult failures to treat after acromioclavicular joint reconstruction surgery are those involving fractures of either the coracoid or the clavicle. Clavicle hook plates can be used as supplemental fixation during the treatment of these fractures to help offload the fracture site and allow healing while restoring stability to the acromioclavicular articulation. A failed hemiarthroplasty for a proximal humeral fracture frequently results when the tuberosities fail to heal correctly. This complication can be avoided by paying close attention to the implant position and the tuberosity fixation. If hemiarthroplasty is unsuccessful, the patient is best treated with conversion to a reverse shoulder arthroplasty.

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