What is a total shoulder replacement?
A total shoulder replacement surgical procedure is performed when the shoulder requires a total joint replacement. This involves replacing the humeral head and glenoid socket with artificial materials such as stainless steel, titanium, or polyethylene. A patient may require a total shoulder replacement if arthritis or injury has severely damaged the joint. A patient may be a candidate for a total shoulder replacement if they experience severe pain in the shoulder joint accompanied by a loss in range of motion and weakness in the joint. The patient may also experience pain that affects their sleep and have difficulty with everyday activities such as getting dressed. This procedure may be considered for patients whose symptoms were not relieved by nonsurgical treatments or other surgical treatments.
In order to determine if the patient qualifies for a shoulder replacement, a doctor will conduct a physical exam, order and review x-rays or an MRI, and assess the amount of pain and range of motion in the shoulder. They will also ask the patient about their symptoms and review their medical history. The doctor will then determine which type of total shoulder replacement is the best fit for the patient.
What is a total shoulder replacement procedure like?
The patient should inform their doctor of any medications and supplements they are taking and of any allergies they have to medications. Prior to surgery, the patient may want to make certain changes in their home to help them make a smoother recovery. It is recommended that the patient wear loose fitting clothing and a button up shirt to the hospital or surgical center. General anesthesia will be used for the procedure, and a local anesthetic can also be used to numb the area. A total shoulder replacement procedure usually takes around two hours. After surgery the patient will be monitored in a recovery room and will likely be allowed to return home sometime between the first and third day after surgery. Pain medication may be prescribed, and the doctor may also recommend NSAIDs. At first most patients will be able to perform simple activities and exercises but may notice pain with activity. Patients will also require physical therapy which can help them regain strength and mobility in the shoulder.
Do you have a shoulder injury that could benefit from this surgical technique? Contact the specialists at Mobility Bone & Joint Institute to learn more about treatment options.