Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery: Recovery

Joseph A. Abboud, MD March 19th, 2019

If you’re concerned you might be one of the over 100,000 people in the U.S. in need of total shoulder replacement surgery, don’t worry! Recovery from total shoulder replacement surgery can alleviate painful symptoms and improve mobility.

Are you having trouble reaching your arm upward without pain? Does your shoulder joint feel stiff? Or, have you experienced the sensation of your shoulder “popping” out of its socket? If you answered yes to any of these, you may require the care of a qualified orthopaedic shoulder specialist.

Our renowned Rothman Orthopaedic Institute surgeons practice evidence-based medicine. We are committed to your health and safety. Find out how total shoulder replacement surgery has helped thousands of people, just like you, return to the active lifestyle they love.

When Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery Is Required

The shoulder joint contains a large bone (the humerus, or arm bone) that rests inside of a socket (the glenoid inside the shoulder blade). This type of joint provides an extensive range of motion. When the shoulder joint is healthy, it enables us to reach upward, stretch outward, and rotate our arm around.

When healthy functionality of the shoulder is impaired, it may be due to one of the following shoulder conditions:

When there is significant bone and cartilage damage, shoulder arthroplasty (shoulder replacement surgery) is often the best option to relieve pain and restore functionality. Our orthopaedic group performs more shoulder replacement procedures than any other group in the country. With experience comes optimization of outcomes and improved efficiency.  Shoulder joint replacement involves replacing the damaged pieces with a polished metal ball on an artificial “stem.” This component is anchored into the healthy part of the arm bone.

The damaged socket is smoothed, and a prosthetic replacement made of high-grade plastic is secured onto the shoulder blade. The half-moon-shaped metal ball fits into the new socket. In turn, the patient experiences an improved range of motion and seamless “gliding” feel of a natural shoulder joint.

Tips for Recovery from Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

At Rothman Orthopaedic Institute, our surgeons are internationally recognized as leaders in orthopedic subspecialty care. Utilizing the most advanced and innovative approaches in shoulder treatment, we consistently take measures to maximize surgical recovery.

Did you know there are a few steps you can take at home to speed up your recovery and make yourself more comfortable?

Before surgery, consider these helpful tips:

  • Place necessary items within accessible reach to eliminate the need for stretching or lifting the arm.

  • Ask family members or friends to take over tasks such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning during the initial healing phase.

  • Complete any major shopping a day or two before your procedure.

  • Obtain a recliner which is helpful for sleep.

To ensure a safe and effective recovery following surgery, your Rothman Orthopaedic Institute shoulder specialist may suggest you:

  • Take Pain Medication as Prescribed
    Pain and discomfort are a natural part of the healing process. Your shoulder surgeon may prescribe a multimodal pain medication to reduce pain and discomfort.

  • Rest and Therapy
    It’s important to get plenty of rest. You should also wear any recommended support gear, such as a sling to protect and support the shoulder. Your physician will also make specific recommendations for allowable exercises which often times are initiated the day after surgery.

  • Refrain From Rigorous Activity
    Until you’re released by your surgeon, it’s best to limit activity during the initial recovery phase.

Total shoulder replacement surgery will require a graduated therapeutic program under the direct supervision of your surgeon over a period of approximately six months. While this may sound like a long time, the shoulder needs time to re-acclimate. The more you adhere to the post-surgery guidelines you are given, the more efficient your recovery will be.

If you believe you may need shoulder replacement surgery or would like to learn more about recovery from total shoulder replacement surgery, contact Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. Our physicians specialize in advanced orthopaedic treatment options and can review your options with you.

Please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

Related Specialties

Related Physicians

Filter Physicians



Please select your region to view available physicians.

Select Your Region

Related Programs

  • Cartilage Restoration Institute

    This is a center where patients can go to have their disabled joint biological resurfaced, realigned, and stabilized without having the joint replaced by artificial materials such as metal and plastic. It is well known that the outcomes of patients under the age of 50 undergoing artificial joint replacement are not as good as we would like. Therefore we feel the future of Orthopaedics is to try to restore a joint back to its original anatomy by realignment, ligament reconstruction, and cartilage restoration.
    Read More
1 of 1
You are using an unsupported version of Internet Explorer. To ensure security, performance, and full functionality, please upgrade to an up-to-date browser.