Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder joint

Shoulder replacement surgery is removing the damaged areas of the shoulder and replacing them with artificial parts. The goal of the Shoulder replacement surgery is to relieve pain and improve mobility of the shoulder joint.

Shoulder fracture

A shoulder replacement is needed in case of severe arthritis or a fracture causing severe pain and total loss of motion. It is usually recommended for people who do not benefit from more conservative treatments for their severe pain from the below conditions:

  • Shoulder Arthritis
  • Damage to the shoulder bones
  • Bone fracture cause due to trauma/accident

Benefits of Shoulder Replacement

  • Thousands of patients have gone through shoulder surgeries around the world.  Below are the benefits of the surgery and why one should consider it:

    • The patients going through extreme pain experience less or no pain after the surgery.
    • There is improved motion and strength in the shoulder joint
    • Better function of the shoulder is seen after the surgery
    • An overall improved quality of life


The Procedure

Before the surgery a full diagnosis is done to know the exact location and damage of the shoulder joint. A full physical exam and X-rays and other imaging tests are done for this purpose.

The doctors may put the patient on medication before the day of the surgery. The patient must reveal to the doctor all the previous health issues and conditions and all the current ongoing medications.

Artificial shoulder parts or prosthesis would be ready before the surgery for the replacements. The patient is put under anesthesia and the artificial parts are put in place after making cuts to the correct locations. The procedure could last up to three hours or more depending upon the extent of damage.

Recovering after the surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery is a major operation and the recovery period depends on various factors. Medication is administered after the surgery for wound healing and pain relief. The surgery is followed by rehabilitation, which is started right away.

After discharge, a shoulder wrap/band is placed to restrict shoulder movement in unwanted directions. Shoulder rest is advised in initial period along with general precautions like not lifting heavy objects or doing activity causing access movement or causing pressure to the shoulder.
Physical therapy is started after doctor’s advice only and is to be under proper guidance. It could take up to six months for a full recovery after a shoulder replacement

The patients should also take below precautions till full recovery:

  •  Avoid putting pressure to the shoulder joint by avoiding certain activities like lifting heavy objects or pulling chairs etc.
  • Never stop the exercises recommended by the physiotherapists at home
  • Do not overdo the exercises
  • Avoid participating in activities that could cause too much shoulder movement. For example contact sports.
  • Be aware of your sleeping positions and avoid pressure on the joint
  • Never change or miss any medication without first consulting the doctor