Regional anesthesia—used to block pain in the upper body, but you will not be asleep
Description of the Procedure
The doctor will make a cut through your skin near your shoulder. The large muscles around the shoulder will be pulled back. Another incision will be made in the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is made up of tendons that cover and support the shoulder joint. Pulling back the muscles and tendons will allow the doctor to have a clear view of the shoulder joint.
The doctor will then remove the shoulder joint and replace it with an implant that looks very similar. It includes a ball, socket, and stem parts.
After inserting the implant, the doctor will close the rotator cuff, muscles, and skin with stitches. A drain may also be inserted to remove fluids that may build up in the shoulder after surgery.
How Long Will It Take?
A few hours
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
This surgery is done in a hospital. The usual length of stay is 2-3 days. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Antibiotics to prevent infection
Medication to prevent blood clots
X-rays to evaluate the new shoulder joint
You may start physical therapy as early as the day after your surgery. A physical therapist will work with you to help you regain your range of motion and strength in your shoulder. You will also continue physical therapy after you leave the hospital.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not allowing others to touch your incisions
You will wear an arm sling for the first several weeks after surgery. The sling will help support your shoulder as it heals. You should be able to do simple tasks, like feeding yourself and dressing, within 2 weeks after surgery. In the meantime, family members or friends may help you with daily activities.
The staff will teach you how to care for any dressings or bandages. This will help prevent wound infection.
Antibiotics may be needed before certain dental procedures or surgeries now that you have an artificial joint. This will prevent possible infections from entering the bloodstream. Make sure to let the dentist or doctor know that you have an artificial joint.
Call Your Doctor
It is important for you to monitor your recovery after you leave the hospital. Alert your doctor to any problems right away. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
Shoulder stiffness, pain, or instability
Problems at the incision site, such as bleeding or drainage
Signs of an infections such as fevers, chills, redness, or warmth
Numbness or tingling in your shoulder, arm, or fingers
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Shoulder joint replacement. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00094. Updated December 2011. Accessed November 13, 2017.
Shoulder replacement surgery: diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Hospital for Special Surgery website. Available at: https://www.hss.edu/conditions_Shoulder-Replacement-Surgery-Diagnosis-Treatment-Recovery.asp. Updated July 1, 2013. Accessed November 13, 2017.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.