Total Shoulder Replacement

New Mobility Joint and Spine CenterWhat is Total Shoulder Replacement?

Total shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure, where the worn-out surfaces of the shoulder are replaced with artificial components. Over time, the cartilage that cushions the bones can wear away, cause pain, and discomfort, and make simple pleasures unbearable. Shoulder replacement can reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and get you back to normal life.

Who is a Candidate for Total Shoulder Replacement?

Shoulder replacement surgery may be considered for those suffering from severe shoulder fractures or arthritic shoulder pain that severely limits the activities of daily living. It is recommended only after careful examination and diagnosis for your particular joint problem, and only after more conservative measures such as exercise, physical therapy, and medications have proven ineffective.

What Kind of Shoulder Implant is Best?

There are many different kinds of designs of shoulder implants available today and no one design or type is best for every patient or their particular situation. Each Surgeon selects the implant that they believe is best for their patient’s needs based on a number of factors including age, activity level, and the implant’s track record, and his/her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant. If you have specific questions regarding implants, Dr. Sarin will be happy to answer them for you.

How long will I be in the hospital?

With improvements in surgical techniques and post-operative care, it is now common for many patients to be able to go home from the hospital after two or three days.  Of course, each patient is different but the goal should be for you to recover in the privacy and comfort of your own home, as soon as possible.

How long is the recovery period?

Once again, this can vary from person to person. When you leave the hospital, your arm will be in a sling. You will need the sling to support and protect your shoulder for the first 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

Wound care. You will have staples running along your wound or a suture beneath your skin. The staples will be removed several weeks after surgery. A suture beneath your skin will not require removal.

Avoid soaking the wound in water until it has thoroughly sealed and dried. You may continue to bandage the wound to prevent irritation from clothing.

Activity. Exercise is a critical component of home care, particularly during the first few weeks after surgery. Follow your home exercise plan to help you regain strength. Most patients are able to perform simple activities such as eating, dressing and grooming within 2 weeks after surgery. Some pain with activity and at night is common for several weeks after surgery.

Driving a car is not allowed for 2 to 4 weeks after surgery.

Keep in mind that healing and recovery times can vary.

How successful is shoulder replacement?

Shoulder replacement is recognized as one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In the United States, over 53,000 people have their shoulders replaced each year, and 90% of those are considered successful.

What are the Risks?

Even though shoulder replacement surgery is considered a very successful, it is major surgery, and as with any surgery, there are risks you need to be aware of. Possible Complications include:

  • Blood Clots in your leg veins
  • Infection
  • Implant loosening
  • Fractures
  • Nerve or blood vessel damage
  • Shoulder Dislocation
  • Change of arm length

Your surgeon and healthcare team will be taking care to minimize the risk of these and other complications. Keep in mind that complications are relatively rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family. Dr. Sarin will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.

How much does total shoulder replacement hurt?

You will experience some discomfort after surgery, but be assured we will be doing everything we can to keep you as comfortable as possible. Pain after surgery is quite variable from person to person, and not entirely predictable, but modern medications and improved anesthetic techniques greatly enhance our ability to control pain and discomfort after surgery.

Will in need a Blood Transfusion?

Your surgical team will be doing everything possible to minimize bleeding, but some blood loss after joint replacement is unavoidable. Whether or not a blood transfusion is required will depend greatly on highly individualized factors, including your condition prior to surgery, cardiac history, age, etc. Be sure to discuss these issues with Dr. Sarin.

What other questions do you have?

Just give us a call. We’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have. And be sure to ask us about our latest outcomes – we are always pleased to share our results.

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