Shoulder replacement surgery is a type of surgery that replaces the ends of bones in the shoulder joint, either by completely removing them or capping them with artificial materials. This helps to cut down on joint pain and enable further use of the arm. There are various reasons someone might need shoulder replacement surgery. Acute injuries as the result of an accident or injury, bone diseases such as osteoarthritis are another cause. And sometimes, the bones degrade naturally.

Common Procedure for Shoulder Surgery

General anesthesia is usually used for the surgery, rendering a patient unconscious until the procedure is completed. During the process, the physician will smooth out the joint connections so they fit properly. It’s usually recommend the patient undergo several rounds of antibiotics, both before and after the surgery, to help fight any infection that may occur. An alternative treatment is a new procedure called total shoulder replacement for patients with severe and painful arthritis symptoms. While not widely in use, this procedure has shown some promising early results.

What to Expect After Surgery

After surgery, the patient will receive additional antibiotics and pain medication. In most cases rehabilitation will be required to bring the shoulder back to-or close to- its original functionality. A physical therapist may help the patient restore full range of movement and flexibility after surgery. These exercises usually begin the day of or the day following surgery, and most patients are able to walk around with assistance the very same day.

How Long Does It Take to Recover?

Many patients are able to leave the hospital within one to three days, although full recovery can take significantly longer. Factors that affect recovery are based largely on age and overall health before and after the surgery. Full rehabilitation can take months; a normal pattern is roughly six weeks of limited activity, then more intense exercises, as well as stretches, until around the three month mark. At the three months, physicians recommend strength training to restore the shoulder to its prior level.

Get Help Today

Shoulder surgery is an intensive process, but it can help restore a patient’s shoulder to the same level of functionality pre-surgery; and because a properly functioning shoulder is critical in our everyday lives, shoulder replacement surgery can help increase the quality of life.

If you have questions about shoulder replacement surgery, contact a physician at IBJI.

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