Shoulder arthritis: Ream and Run

The ream and run - a glenohumeral arthroplasty that avoids the risks of plastic glenoid components

Ream and Run


The ream and run procedure is a glenohumeral arthroplasty that combines a humeral hemiarthroplasty with concentric reaming of the glenoid bone without the use of a prosthetic glenoid component or polymethylmethacrylate. A ream and run is not the same as a hemiarthroplasty, as explained here. It is a non-prosthetic method for managing arthritis of the glenoid socket (Matsen 2007 JSES ). Some of the essentials of the procedure can be seen here.


The ream and run is offered to individuals who desire active use of their shoulder arthroplasty without concern for failure of the glenoid component. This procedure is used for primary and secondary osteoarthritis, posttraumatic arthritis and capsulorrhaphy arthropathy. It is avoided in inflammatory arthritis because of the softness of the glenoid bone and in glenoid dysplasia because of inadequate glenoid bone stock. Candidates for this procedure understand that a diligent, persistent and prolonged rehabilitation effort may be required to avoid stiffness after this procedure. Individuals who smoke, use substantial narcotic medications, or who have major physical or mental health concerns are not good candidates for this procedure.


A step by step approach to the ream and run is shown here. The JBJS has published a recent version of the technique here. The Video Journal of Orthopaedics has provided a short view of the technique.

Our surgical technique, step by step: The exposure and the humeral side of the arthroplasty


The most important aspect of the post operative rehab program ispreventing stiffness - using the exercises shown here. Some patients have developedcreative approaches to their rehab as shown here.


A technically well done ream and run followed by a dedicated rehabilitation effort on the part of the patient usually yields a substantial improvement in shoulder comfort and function, enabling the patient to return to activities without surgeon-imposed limitation and without concern for failure of a plastic glenoid socket replacement. Younger patients, those with multiple prior surgeries, those with complex pathoanatomy, those with extremely poor function prior to surgery, those taking major pain medication, and those who have difficulty maintaining a consistent rehabilitation effort may have greater difficulty in achieving the desired result. Some of the clinical results have been published in peer-reviewed orthopaedic journals as shown below:

Here is a video showing the level of function achieved by some of the patients having a ream and run.


The possible risks of the ream and run procedure include stiffness, pain, and infection. If stiffness and pain are persistent at six weeks after surgery, a gentle manipulation under anesthesia with complete muscle relaxation is often helpful. If stiffness is present months after the procedure, a surgical soft tissue releaseis an option. Infection is uncommon after this procedure, especially if advanced prophylactic antibiotics (Ceftriaxone and Vancomycin) are used before and for a day after surgery. Fractures are extremely rare with the impaction bone grafting technique.

Check out the new Shoulder Arthritis Book - click here.