Replacement of the shoulder in juvenile idiopathic arthritis is not often performed and there have been no published series to date. We present nine glenohumeral hemiarthroplasties in eight patients with systemic or polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The mean follow-up was six years (59 to 89 months). The mean age at the time of surgery was 32 years. Surgery took place at a mean of 27 years after diagnosis. The results indicated excellent relief from pain. There was restoration of useful function which deteriorated with time, in part because of progression of the systemic disease in this severely affected group. No patient has required revision to date and there has been no radiological evidence of loosening or osteolysis around the implants. We discuss the pathoanatomical challenges unique to this group. There was very little space for a prosthetic joint and, in some cases, bony deformity and the small size necessitated the use of custom-made implants.

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