What to Expect When Undergoing Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder replacement surgeries are common, with more than 50,000 performed each year in the United States. These surgeries remove damaged bone and cartilage and replace part or all of the joint with a prosthesis. 

You may need to consider replacing a shoulder if you have severe joint damage from an injury or arthritis. People with severe shoulder pain and limited mobility often find significant improvement with shoulder replacement surgery.

Kristopher Downing, MD, and Daniel Brereton, DO, at Upper Extremity Specialists

are experts in shoulder injuries and shoulder replacement surgery. And, as members of Synergy Orthopedic Specialists Medical Group, you can rely on the highest quality of care available.

Before shoulder replacement surgery

When you come to Upper Extremity Specialists for shoulder care, we begin by examining your shoulders and reviewing your medical history.  You might be a good candidate for shoulder replacement surgery if you have:

Restricted mobility and severe pain are two common symptoms that can come with these conditions. Your shoulder might benefit from replacement surgery if you’ve tried other treatments, such as physical therapy, and you haven’t found relief from your pain.

During shoulder replacement surgery

A few weeks before your surgery, our team will give you guidelines so you can prepare for your procedure. For example, you may need to stop taking certain medications to prevent excessive bleeding during surgery. 

Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to the hospital. Furthermore, bring an overnight bag, as you might stay at the hospital for a few days. 

The extent of your surgery and type of prosthesis will depend on the condition of your shoulder. Most shoulder surgeries take about two hours. We use general anesthesia for shoulder replacements, so you won’t be awake during your procedure.

After shoulder replacement surgery

In the first few days after your surgery, you will likely experience shoulder pain. We will prescribe oral pain medication to help you remain comfortable. You can expect to begin using your shoulder as early as the same day of your surgery. 

You’ll leave the hospital a few days after your surgery, and your arm will be in a sling. Arrange to have help for the first six weeks following your surgery, because you’ll have limited mobility. Don’t lift heavy objects or push or pull until your provider gives you approval.

Rehabilitation and physical therapy are extremely important when recovering from shoulder surgery. Be sure to attend all of your physical therapy sessions, and perform all of your at-home exercises. This will help strengthen your shoulder and promote a healthy recovery.

After you recover, you’ll likely experience less pain and better range of motion in your shoulder. Most shoulder replacements last 15-20 years.

You don’t have to live with shoulder pain that keeps you from enjoying life. To find out if shoulder replacement surgery can help you, book an appointment online or over the phone with Upper Extremity Specialists today.

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