With a greater range of motion than any other joint in your body, the shoulder is highly complex. This ball-and-socket joint connects your upper arm to your body. The ball and socket configuration allows your arm to move in an up-and-down motion, backwards and forwards, and in a circular motion. There are ligaments connecting the bones, and tendons connecting your muscles to the bone. Your shoulder also has a layer of cartilage preventing the bones from rubbing together.
When your shoulder becomes severely damaged, it can impact your ability to perform routine daily activities and engage in athletics. You may also experience problems sleeping due to the pain. In many instances, shoulder replacement surgery is necessary to alleviate pain, improve mobility and restore proper functioning of the shoulder joint.
Shoulder replacement is performed to remove damaged parts of the shoulder joint and replace it with an artificial implant. The prosthetic shoulder joint is typically made of a metal ball which attaches to a titanium stem. A polyethylene cup replaces the natural socket in your shoulder joint.
Over 50,000 shoulder replacement procedures are performed in the United States every year. The procedure is very effective, and approximately 95% of shoulder surgery patients experience a restoration of pain-free function within a year of their surgery. Most patients are able to resume all normal activities and even return to their favorite athletic endeavors at peak levels of performance.
Common causes of shoulder replacement include:
In most instances, more conservative treatment options such as medications and physical therapy will be used first. If you’re unable to achieve the relief you need from these methods, surgery may be recommended.
In general, it may be time to consider shoulder replacement if:
Prior to scheduling your procedure, you’ll need to undergo a physical exam to ensure you’re healthy enough for surgery and take imaging of your shoulder so that our surgeons can get a clear view of the damage to your shoulder.
You’ll need to discontinue using the following medications several weeks before surgery:
If you smoke, you’ll need to quit prior to surgery and throughout the recovery period since smoking can negatively impact your healing and increase your risk of complications. In addition, you may need to reduce your alcohol intake and increase your level of exercise prior to surgery.
There are three different types of shoulder replacement procedures:
At Colorado Advanced Orthopedics, we perform the following types of shoulder replacement procedures:
In order to achieve the greatest levels of precision with your shoulder replacement, our surgeons use the Tornier Blueprint.
You’ll need to spend 2-5 days at the hospital following your shoulder surgery. It’s common to experience pain and swelling. Our doctors will prescribe medication to help you manage the pain, and cold compresses can be used to reduce swelling.
Our team will encourage you to begin moving your shoulder as soon as you feel up to it, and physical therapy will typically begin before you leave the hospital. This physical therapy will continue throughout your recovery, and you’ll need to perform all prescribed exercises to ensure that your shoulder regains full strength and the new shoulder joint works properly.
Patience will be crucial while you recover. It’s common to experience reduced arm function for about a month after surgery. During this time, your arm will remain in a sling, you won’t be able to lift anything heavier than a pound. You’ll also need to avoid activities requiring pushing or pulling during the early stages of your recovery.
In general, you can expect to resume light activity within 2-6 weeks, and it may take a full six weeks before you can drive. It may take up to six months before you can return to strenuous exercises that involve the use of your shoulder.
The surgeons at Colorado Advanced Orthopedics have witnessed firsthand the ways in which a serious shoulder injury can derail your life. We understand the tremendous pain you’re experiencing, and we’re committed to helping you restore a pain free life.
When you have your shoulder replacement performed at Colorado Advanced Orthopedics, you can count on an amazing patient experience from your initial consultation throughout all follow-up visits. Our team consists of some of the most highly trained and experienced orthopedic surgeons on the Western Slope, and we’re committed to delivering the exceptional quality care you deserve.