Monday, October 7, 2013

What Is Involved In Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery can reduce pain and increase flexibility.

Shoulder replacement surgery can help relieve pain and help patients move better, making daily activities easier. Surgery is not usually considered until noninvasive treatments, such as medication and physically therapy, have failed to control pain adequately.


Patients with various forms of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, may need shoulder replacement surgery. Severe rotator cuff injuries and failed previous shoulder replacements are other common reasons for the procedure, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

Before Surgery

About two weeks before surgery, patients should stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, and most arthritis medications as these can thin the blood and cause excessive bleeding during surgery. Some patients may take antibiotics before the procedure to reduce the risk of infection.


Shoulder replacement surgeries are done under general anesthesia. The surgeon replaces the top part of the upper arm bone with a metal piece that is shaped like a ball at the end that fits into the shoulder socket. Sometimes, the shoulder socket itself is capped with metal or plastic.


The most common risks associated with shoulder replacement surgery are reaction to the anesthesia, infection of the surgical site, and instability or stiffness in the new joint. In rare cases, blood clots and nerve injury can occur.


Most patients stay in the hospital for one to three days following shoulder replacement surgery. The wound must be kept clean and dry upon returning home. Physical rehabilitation with a therapist starts a few days after surgery and can continue for weeks or months. Exercises build slowly to increase range of motion and strength in the new shoulder.

Tags: replacement surgery, replacement surgery, Shoulder replacement, Shoulder replacement surgery, shoulder replacement surgery