Your shoulders have a wide range of motion and can let you move your arms in virtually any direction. However, their flexibility can increase the risk of instability and injury. So, when any part of the shoulder gets injured, we should make it a point to treat it efficiently and effectively.
If your shoulder pain is no longer responding to conservative treatments, your doctor may consider shoulder surgery. Here’s everything you need to know about this procedure.
What Is Shoulder Surgery?
Shoulder surgery is a procedure where surgeons replace the damaged part of the shoulder with a prosthetic. The prosthesis used is usually made up of metal for the ball and high-density plastic for the socket. By removing the diseased part of the joint, patients can experience relief from painful symptoms.
Replacement surgery is usually recommended for people with a severe injury or fractured/broken shoulder due to a work injury. It may also help with:
- Rotator cuff tears
- Rheumatoid arthritis
There are two main types of shoulder surgery: total shoulder replacement and reverse total shoulder replacement. Both procedures use the same stainless steel ball and polyethylene socket, but differ in the placement of the ball and socket.
In total shoulder replacement, the ball and socket are placed based on how the original bones are arranged. So, the ball is held by a stem on the humerus, while the socket is replaced in the shoulder blade area.
The opposite happens with a reverse total shoulder replacement. Thus, the ball is at the shoulder blade and the socket at the humerus.
What Happens in Shoulder Surgery
Before the surgery, you will typically undergo blood tests and an electrocardiogram (EKG) for assessment. Your doctor will also give you directions regarding food, drinks, and medication intake days before the procedure.
Before the surgery, make sure you find someone who can drive you home afterward. If you live alone, it may help to have someone over to help you adjust during the first few days following surgery.
Right before the surgery, nurses will check your blood pressure, temperature, and other vital signs. Then, you’ll receive either a regional anesthetic or a general anesthetic to keep you comfortable during surgery.
The actual replacement surgery can take up to two hours. However, it may take an additional one to two hours for the anesthesia to wear off.
After the procedure, you may have to stay at the hospital for two to five days. During the first day, you may receive a morphine pump to help with the pain. You’ll also receive antibiotics to prevent infection.
Aside from medication, you will have physical therapy sessions. Your physical therapist will help you learn how to move gently and effectively using your new shoulder joint. Proper movement is vital to preventing stiffness and strengthening the joint.
Here are some things you need to avoid to speed up your recovery:
- Lifting objects heavier than 5 pounds for the first 3-4 weeks
- Lifting heavy objects for up to two months
- Using your arm to get up from a bed or chair
- Stretching your arm excessively
- Playing contact sports
You will also have to keep your dressing dry. After 10-14 days, return to your doctor for an appointment to check on your progress and remove the dressing.
The entire recovery period can take around six months to a year. Your orthopedic doctor will check your progress every six weeks for the first five months.
Benefits Of Shoulder Surgery
Because shoulder surgery can directly replace the damaged parts of the shoulder, you can experience pain relief and restore mobility. With proper recovery and maintenance, most prosthetics last for 10-15 years.
Despite its benefits, shoulder surgery is not without risks. Below are the problems some patients experience during or after the procedure. The risk for each of these is extremely low, and your surgeon will make every attempt to prevent such issues from occurring.
- Blood clots
- Prosthetic problems
- Nerve injury
Shoulder Surgery in Miami Lakes and Plantation, FL
Shoulder surgery can help people with severe shoulder conditions due to advanced arthritis, degeneration, fractures, and other injuries. It is a viable treatment for those who want pain relief and an improved range of motion. Here at The Orthopedic Hand and Arm Center, we offer many treatment modalities, such as medication, PRP therapy, and surgery, to treat various orthopedic conditions.
We have convenient locations in Miami Lakes and Plantation, Florida. Schedule an appointment with us, so we can discuss treatment options with you. You can also call us at (888) 908-9036. We look forward to restoring your pain-free and mobile shoulder!