To assist surgeons select a suitable prosthesis, we have undertaken a detailed review of all shoulder and elbow replacements currently marketed in the UK. Twenty shoulder and 8 elbow implants, manufactured by 16 companies, have been identified. Twelve of the shoulder and one of the elbow implants have been introduced or modified in the last 8 years and have no clinical results published in peer-reviewed journals. Only the Biomodular, Bipolar, Copeland, Isoelastic, Neer hemi, Neer II, Roper-Day and Select shoulders accounting for less than 40% of the UK shoulder market, possess published results. The Capitello-condylar, Coonrad-Morrey, GSB III, Kudo, Liverpool, Roper-Tuke and Souter-Strathclyde elbows all have published results. These account for over 95% of all UK elbow replacements. The implications of these findings in an era of evidence-based medicine is discussed. Reviewing the clinical results should be of primary importance in the selection of a suitable prosthesis. Implants with a proven long-term record must represent the 'gold standard'. New or modified implants should only be used if they are part of a properly conducted clinical trial
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