Shoulder Arthroplasty

Normal and Abnormal Imaging Appearances

Thomas Learch, MD, Rasu Shrestha, MD and John itamura, MD

Although the shoulder was the first joint to undergo surgical replacement, it wasn't until the last decade that the procedure has become widespread and common. Newer joint replacement systems and surgical techniques combined with the aging US population have led to a increase in patients undergoing shoulder replacement surgery. Shoulder arthroplasty has now been established as a well-developed and effective surgery resulting in pain relief, improved function in activities of daily living, and high rates of patient satisfaction. Imaging studies are helpful in monitoring success and failure of surgery confirming both normal outcomes and identifying complications. Potential complications seen in total knee and hip replacement surgeries can also be seen in should replacements. Radiologists need to be aware of normal imaging patterns as well as complications that can occur over the course of implant use. These web pages will demonstrate normal and abnormal conventional radiography and advanced imaging patterns seen postoperatively and on follow-up examinations. Joint aspiration techniques and arthrography of infected prostheses will also be demonstrated.

Learning Objectives

  • Describe normal imaging features of shoulder arthroplasty
  • Understand potential complications of shoulder arthroplasty and their imaging features
  • Demonstrate aspiration techniques for the work up of infected shoulder arthroplasties

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Table of Contents




Prosthesis Types




CT, MRI, Ultrasound