J Bone Jt Infect 2017; 2(2):90-95. doi:10.7150/jbji.17083

Research Paper

Septic Arthritis of the Shoulder with Proximal Humerus Osteomyelitis, Treated by Ilizarov Shoulder Arthrodesis

John Kendall, Martin McNally

Department of Limb Reconstruction, Bone Infection Unit, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Oxford University, Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Windmill Road, Oxford, OX3 7HE


Septic arthritis of the shoulder can destroy the glenohumeral joint resulting in significant pain, instability and poor function. Surgical treatment is notoriously difficult with significant risk of complications. Shoulder arthrodesis has been performed using both internal and external fixation but has high complication rates in the presence of infection.

We present our experience of managing a patient with significant pain and loss of function as a result of septic arthritis of the shoulder following infected proximal humeral fracture fixation with associated proximal humeral osteomyelitis. We discuss patient presentation, appropriate investigations, decision-making, pre-operative planning and the principles of managing of bone and joint infection.

Wide excision with Ilizarov stabilisation and implantation of an absorbable antibiotic carrier, allowed successful fusion with eradication of the infection. The benefits of using this arthrodesis technique include reduced risk of infection recurrence and excellent stability of construct, therefore reducing time to fusion and minimising soft tissue trauma with the opportunity for early rehabilitation and return to optimal level of function.

Keywords: Ilizarov, Shoulder Fusion, Arthrodesis, Septic Arthritis, Osteomyelitis, Local Antibiotics

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How to cite this article:
Kendall J, McNally M. Septic Arthritis of the Shoulder with Proximal Humerus Osteomyelitis, Treated by Ilizarov Shoulder Arthrodesis. J Bone Jt Infect 2017; 2(2):90-95. doi:10.7150/jbji.17083. Available from http://www.jbji.net/v02p0090.htm