Shoulder Replacement Surgery: What To Expect From Your Shoulder Doctor

Are you considering shoulder replacement surgery? If so, it’s essential to understand what to expect from your shoulder doctor. This article will provide valuable information to help you make an informed decision about your healthcare journey.

Choosing the right shoulder doctor is crucial for a successful outcome. From initial consultations to post-operative care, your doctor will play a vital role in your recovery. They will assess your condition, discuss your treatment options, and guide you.

In this article, we will explore the qualities to look for in a shoulder doctor, the steps involved in shoulder replacement surgery, and what to expect during recovery. By understanding what to expect from your shoulder doctor, you can confidently approach your surgery and achieve the best possible results.

So, let’s dive in and learn more about shoulder replacement surgery and your shoulder doctor’s critical role in your journey to relief and improved mobility.

When Is Shoulder Replacement Surgery Necessary?

Shoulder replacement surgery may be necessary when conservative treatments no longer relieve pain and improve mobility. Conditions like severe osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and avascular necrosis can necessitate surgery. Non-surgical options such as physical therapy and pain medications may help initially, but if these don’t provide relief, surgery may be considered.

Types Of Shoulder Replacement Surgery

There are several types of shoulder replacement surgery, and the type recommended for you will depend on your specific condition and needs. The two main categories of shoulder replacement surgery are total shoulder replacement and reverse shoulder replacement.

  • Total Shoulder Replacement: This procedure involves replacing the damaged ball-and-socket joint surfaces with artificial metal and plastic components. It is the most common shoulder replacement surgery suitable for patients with intact rotator cuff muscles.
  • Reverse Shoulder Replacement: Reverse shoulder replacement is recommended for patients with irreparable rotator cuff tears or severe arthritis. In this procedure, the ball and socket components are switched, with the ball-shaped implant attached to the shoulder blade and the socket-shaped component placed on the upper arm bone.

Your shoulder doctor will assess your condition and determine which type of shoulder replacement surgery is most appropriate for you. They will explain each option’s advantages and potential risks, helping you make an informed decision.

Preparing For Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Once you and your shoulder doctor have decided that shoulder replacement surgery is the best course of action, you must prepare for the procedure. Here are some steps you can expect to take:

  • Medical Evaluation: Your doctor will conduct a comprehensive medical evaluation to ensure you are physically prepared for surgery. This may involve blood tests, EKG, and other pre-operative assessments.
  • Medications and Supplements: Your doctor will provide guidelines regarding any medicines or supplements you must stop taking before surgery. Some drugs, such as blood thinners, may need to be temporarily discontinued to minimize the risk of complications during the procedure.
  • Pre-operative Instructions: Your doctor will give you specific instructions on fasting before surgery, when to stop eating and drinking, and any other preparations you need to make.
  • Home Preparation: It’s essential to make arrangements for your post-surgery recovery period. This may include arranging for transportation to and from the hospital, ensuring your home is safe and accessible, and having someone available to assist you during the initial recovery days.

The Surgical Procedure

You will be admitted to the hospital or surgical center on the day of your surgery. Here’s what you can expect during the shoulder replacement procedure:

  • Anesthesia: Before the surgery begins, you will be given anesthesia to ensure you are comfortable and pain-free throughout the procedure.
  • Incision and Exposure: Your shoulder doctor will make an incision to access the shoulder joint.
  • Socket Preparation and Implant Placement: The damaged socket component will be removed, and the socket will be prepared to receive the artificial socket implant.
  • Humeral Component Placement: The ball-shaped humeral component is placed on the upper arm bone (humerus). It is attached securely to provide a stable joint and ensure proper range of motion.
  • Closure and Dressing: Once the artificial components are in place, your doctor will close the incision with sutures or staples and apply a sterile dressing to protect the incision site.

The duration of the surgery can vary depending on the complexity of your case, but it generally takes a few hours. After the procedure, you will be taken to the recovery area to begin the healing process.

Recovery And Rehabilitation Process

The recovery period after shoulder replacement surgery is essential for success. Here’s what you can expect during this phase:

  • Hospital Stay: After the surgery, you will spend a few days in the hospital for close monitoring.
  • Physical Therapy: Physical therapy is crucial to your recovery. Your doctor will refer you to a physical therapist who will guide you through exercises and stretches to improve joint mobility, strength, and stability.
  • Gradual Return to Activities: As your shoulder heals, you will gradually increase your activity level under the guidance of your doctor and physical therapist. You may start with gentle range-of-motion exercises and progress to more challenging activities.
  • Pain Management: Your doctor will prescribe pain medications to manage discomfort during recovery. It’s essential to follow the prescribed medication regimen and report any unusual pain or symptoms to your doctor.
  • Follow-up Visits: Your doctor will schedule follow-up visits to monitor your progress, assess the healing of your shoulder, and make any necessary adjustments to your rehabilitation plan.

Conclusion And Post-Surgery Care Tips

Shoulder replacement surgery can greatly improve your quality of life by alleviating pain and restoring mobility. Selecting the right shoulder doctor and engaging in your recovery is key to a successful outcome.

Follow your doctor’s post-surgery care instructions, including wound care, physical therapy, and prescribed medications. Attend follow-up visits and report any concerns to your doctor.

With your shoulder doctor’s expertise, you can confidently begin your shoulder replacement journey, knowing you are in good hands. Find a skilled shoulder doctor to guide you, and you’ll soon enjoy relief and improved mobility.