Regain Range of Motion with Shoulder Surgery

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Whether you want to throw a football with your grandkids or reach a bowl from a high kitchen cupboard, shoulder pain and immobility can make simple tasks difficult. But shoulder pain shouldn’t keep you from enjoying life or getting a good night’s sleep. Regardless of your
age or the cause of your pain, there may be a shoulder repair solution that’s right for you, including shoulder replacement surgery.

Many chronic shoulder problems can be traced to overuse motions—typically repeated overhead movements that may be common in certain occupations. Weekend athletes and do-it-yourselfers also can be affected by the routine motions required to golf, play tennis, swim, lift weights or work on common construction projects.

In addition to arthritis, the most likely causes of shoulder pain include tendonitis, bursitis, and an inflamed rotator cuff. Collectively, this group of conditions is called shoulder impingement syndrome.

How Is Shoulder Pain Treated?

Your first line of treatment for shoulder pain is your primary care physician. Your physician may recommend treatment options such as cold and heat therapy, rest, medications, cortisone injections, ultrasound, and physical therapy. If these don’t bring significant pain relief, you may be referred to a Penn Highlands orthopedic surgeon who may recommend shoulder replacement surgery.

What Happens During Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

At Penn Highlands Healthcare, we have expert orthopedic surgeons who perform shoulder replacement surgery, which involves resurfacing the areas of the bones that meet in the shoulder joint. The ball-shaped end of the upper arm or humerus is replaced with a metal component, while the socket-shaped glenoid cavity of the shoulder blade is relined with special plastic. These new components eliminate the bone-on-bone situation that causes most shoulder pain.

Who Is a Candidate for Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

People whose daily activities—particularly reaching over your head, dressing, and bathing—are severely limited by shoulder pain or those who have shoulder pain that interferes with their sleep may be candidates for shoulder replacement surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will consider shoulder surgery after careful examination and diagnosis of your particular joint problem, and after more conservative measures such as exercise, physical therapy, and medications have been tried. Patients with osteoarthritis whose rotator cuff tendons are in good shape are typically good candidates.

What Is Recovery Like After Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Pain management and physical therapy are important factors in the success of your shoulder replacement surgery. Gentle exercises to improve the strength and range of motion of your shoulder will begin very soon after surgery while you are still in the hospital. Most patients continue with outpatient physical therapy as well as a set of recommended at-home exercises to do on your own.

Your arm will be in a sling for two to four weeks after surgery to help support the shoulder joint as it heals. You’ll be restricted on heavy lifting, driving, and putting your arm in certain positions for a few weeks after surgery.

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