Between 1986 and 1997, 13 shoulders in adult patients who had severe polyarticular juvenile idiopathic arthritis were treated with primary arthroplasty. Eleven shoulders were evaluated retrospectively by an independent observer with a mean follow-up of 9 years. Patient evaluation included pain Visual Analogue Scale, range of motion, Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand score, and Short-Form 36. Patients' pain decreased significantly after surgery (mean 6.7). Forward elevation improved on average by 41.1 degrees and external rotation by 39.1 degrees , without evidence of shoulder instability. Final Short-Form 36 scores and Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand results (mean, 44.7) were poor, but all patients rated themselves satisfied with the procedure. Shoulder arthroplasty provided pain relief for end-stage shoulder involvement in adult juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Improvement in external rotation in this severely affected group appears to have a beneficial effect on functional outcome.

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