In shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged shoulder is resurfaced and replaced with a prosthesis, or artificial joint. When both sides of the joint are resurfaced, it is total shoulder replacement; when only the ball is involved, it is a partial shoulder replacement.
With a total shoulder replacement, the prosthesis consists of:
- The ball (a rounded metal head with a stem)
- The socket (a smooth plastic concave shell that matches the round head of the ball)
Depending on your situation and diagnosis, reconstructive surgery of the shoulder joint could be performed arthroscopically. When possible, minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery is preferred by our surgeons because traditional surgical techniques tend to produce a longer recovery period and less range of motion after rehabilitation. This type of arthroscopic surgery allows for less invasive and more predictable reconstruction. With arthroscopic techniques, patients tend to experience less pain, disability, and stiffness.
If you require total shoulder replacement, you should take these points into consideration to ensure the success and longevity of your shoulder replacement:
- Avoid repetitive lifting
- Avoid “jamming” activities such as hammering
- Avoid “impact” sports such as boxing, rugby, or football
- Avoid any physical activities involving quick stop-start motion, twisting, or impact stresses on the shoulder
- Avoid pushing heavy objects
It’s is always important to stay healthy and active, but consult with your surgeon before beginning any new sport or activity to find out what type and intensity of sport or activity is appropriate and how it can affect your new shoulder.
If you have a total shoulder replacement, you could remain in the hospital for one to three days.
Physical therapy is an extremely important part of the success of shoulder surgery and your full participation is necessary to achieve an optimal outcome. Some degree of pain, discomfort, and stiffness can be expected during the early days of physical therapy.
The medical staff and therapist will teach you proper movements and exercises to do so that you can regain your strength and mobility in your shoulder. Continue to move the way you were taught by the physical therapist and return to activity slowly. Don’t be surprised if you feel a little stiff at first; it may take a few months for a complete recovery. And remember, it is very important to keep all your scheduled follow-up visits with your surgeon.