Does it matter how many shoulder replacements a surgeon performs?

People who have pain and disability in their shoulder may be offered a shoulder replacement. More than 8,000 replacements are performed in the UK every year and those volumes are rising.

Some countries set targets for the number of these replacements a surgeon should perform each year. A research study by Valsamis E. M and others, using data from the National Joint Registry, explored the impact of surgeon volume on the outcomes for shoulder replacements.  The research was supported and funded by the NHIR.

The researchers found that:

  • patients whose surgeons performed more than 10 shoulder replacements per year on average were less likely to need revision surgery (compared with those whose surgeons performed 10 or fewer).
  • the fewer shoulder replacements a surgeon performed, the more likely revision surgery became; when surgeons performed less than one procedure per year on average, their patients were twice as likely to need revision surgery (compared with patients whose surgeons performed the most).
  • the more shoulder replacements a surgeon performed per year on average, the lower the risk of serious medical complications, other reoperations (such as removing infected tissue) and of prolonged hospital stay.

You can read more about the research here.

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