Navigated shoulder replacement: A breakthrough in arthritis treatment

Written by: Mr Andrew Chambler
Edited by: Kate Forristal

Shoulder arthritis, a common ailment affecting millions worldwide, often leads to debilitating pain and restricted mobility. For individuals facing advanced stages of this condition, shoulder replacement surgery emerges as a beacon of hope. However, not all cases are straightforward, and sometimes, the complexity of anatomy due to arthritis poses challenges for surgeons. This is where navigated shoulder replacement comes into play, revolutionising the landscape of shoulder surgeries. In his latest online article, Mr Andrew Chambler gives us his insights.

What is a navigated shoulder replacement?

Navigated shoulder replacement employs advanced technology to enhance surgical precision. It begins with a meticulous planning phase, where the position for the shoulder replacement is meticulously charted using a CT scan. This data is then uploaded to a computer system, which serves as a guide for the surgeon during the operation. By utilising real-time feedback and visualisation, the surgeon can accurately insert the replacement in the predetermined position, ensuring optimal alignment and functionality.


When is it recommended?

While navigated shoulder replacement can be utilised for any shoulder replacement procedure, it is often reserved for complex cases where the anatomy is distorted due to arthritis. These complex scenarios demand heightened accuracy to achieve successful outcomes, making navigated surgery a preferred choice for such patients.


What are the associated risks?

One might naturally wonder if the incorporation of advanced technology introduces additional risks. However, studies have shown that the risks associated with navigated shoulder replacement are no greater than those of traditional, non-navigated procedures. The primary focus remains on improving surgical outcomes while maintaining safety standards.


How many navigated shoulder replacements will patients typically require?

One of the significant advantages of navigated shoulder replacement lies in its potential to prolong the lifespan of the replacement. With precise positioning, there is an increased likelihood of longevity, reducing the necessity for revision surgeries. Consequently, patients undergoing navigated procedures may require fewer replacements throughout their lifetime compared to traditional surgeries.


What is recovery time like?

Recovery from navigated shoulder replacement mirrors that of conventional replacements. Typically, patients spend around three weeks in a sling post-surgery to allow for initial healing. Subsequently, a structured rehabilitation programme is initiated to gradually regain shoulder function over the following months. While individual recovery experiences may vary, the overarching timeline aligns with that of standard shoulder replacement procedures.


Mr Andrew Chambler is an esteemed specialist shoulder and elbow orthopaedic surgeon. You can schedule an appointment with Mr Chambler on his Top Doctors profile.

By Mr Andrew Chambler
Orthopaedic surgery

Mr Andrew Chambler is a highly distinguished consultant orthopaedic surgeon with practices in Bath and Newport. With more than 20 years of consultant-level experience, Mr Chambler is internationally renowned for his specialist expertise in keyhole shoulder and elbow surgery. Included in his highly skilled clinical practice are rotator cuff repair, shoulder replacement surgery and shoulder arthroscopy procedures alongside treatment for frozen shoulder, shoulder impingement and sports injuries. In the UK, Mr Chambler is also a pioneer in the use of biomaterials for tendon repairs.

Mr Chambler originally qualified from St Mary’s Hospital Medical School, part of Imperial College London, in 1992 with an intercalated BSc in Clinical Science. He completed his specialist orthopaedic training on the acclaimed North West Thames rotation before going on to obtain his Master of Surgery from the University of London in 2000. Having previously become a fellow of The Royal College of Surgeons, Mr Chambler later accomplished four prestigious fellowships: a shoulder and elbow clinical fellowship from Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre and three British Elbow and Shoulder Society travelling fellowships, within the UK, Europe and the famed Mayo Clinic in the USA.

Mr Chambler also held a consultant post at Yeovil Hospital for more than a decade, during which he was closely involved in the development of shoulder and elbow services. He not only secured the provision of new arthroscopic techniques but also managed quality control of surgical outcomes to enable the utmost up-to-date patient care. Mr Chambler was named clinical director of orthopaedics at Yeovil Hospital in 2011, and in 2013, also joined Sulis Hospital Bath (formerly Circle Bath Hospital) in a surgical partnership. For 7 years, Mr. Chambler served as the first executive consultant orthopaedic surgeon and clinical chairman at Sulis Hospital Bath. 

Further to his highly specialised surgical practice, Mr Chambler is a prominent figure in clinical research and medical education. He is an MS examiner for both the University of London and the University of Oxford, and in the past, also served as the site principle investigator for multi-centre randomised clinical trials, most notably for the UKUFF Trial. Currently, Mr. Chambler holds the position of Principal Investigator for the IMPACT Study. As a leading figure in his speciality, Mr Chambler is also regularly invited as an expert lecturer at select faculty courses in the UK and abroad, and as a reviewer for various orthopaedic peer-reviewed journals.

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