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Total Shoulder Replacement

What is a Shoulder Replacement?

Similar to a hip or knee replacement, shoulder replacement is a surgical treatment for shoulder arthritis in which the damaged, arthritic surface of the joint is replaced with an artificial one. In a conventional shoulder replacement, both sides of the shoulder joint are resurfaced. This includes a metal hemisphere to replace the humeral head (ball), as well as a high strength plastic liner to replace the surface of the glenoid (socket).

Who should have a shoulder replacement?

Shoulder replacement is reserved for people with severe shoulder conditions that fail to improve with non-surgical treatments. These conditions include osteoarthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and some traumatic injuries involving the shoulder. In these cases, shoulder replacement surgery often enables people to resume many of their activities and function with significantly less pain.

What is the recovery like?

Shoulder replacement surgery normally includes a brief overnight hospital stay. The affected arm is kept in a sling, but may be removed for gentle range of motion exercises immediately. Walking and other light activity is encouraged. Most people go home the day after surgery, but it is helpful to have someone available to provide assistance for the first several days at home. Strenuous activities are restricted for at least 3 months to allow for adequate healing.