Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Learn about shoulder replacement surgery.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Our Shoulder and Elbow Specialists

Stephen R. Brown, MD

Sports Medicine,
Orthopedic Surgery

Brian P. Conroy, MD

Sports Medicine,
Orthopedic Surgery

Samuel Dubrow, MD

Orthopedic Surgery,
Orthopedic Surgery - Upper Extremity

Kellen L. Huston, MD

Sports Medicine,
Orthopedic Surgery

If nonsurgical treatments like medications and activity changes are no longer helpful for relieving pain, you may want to consider shoulder joint replacement surgery. Shoulder replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure to relieve pain and help you resume everyday activities.

If you decide with your doctor that shoulder replacement surgery is the best option, our goal is to return you to a more normal, healthy lifestyle as soon as possible after your surgery. Our Joint Replacement Center, a recognized center of excellence, is dedicated to your care as a shoulder replacement patient.

Our comprehensive care, which serves as a model for facilities around the world, includes:

  • Pre- and post-surgery education
  • Dedicated patient care unit
  • Focused care from specially trained staff
  • Joint Care Manager who will coordinate your care
  • Group physical therapy
  • Patient education materials
  • Assistance in choosing the best rehabilitation option for you after discharge
  • Shorter length of stay – typically three days

What You Can Expect from Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Before you have shoulder surgery, the Joint Replacement Center will make sure you’re thoroughly prepared to achieve the best possible outcome. First, you will take part in a class in which you will tour the facility and learn what to expect of the surgery, as well as the recovery and rehabilitation process.

In shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial components, called a prosthesis. The treatment options are either replacement of just the head of the humerus bone (ball), or replacement of both the ball and the socket (glenoid).

The procedure usually takes about two hours. Your medical team will give you several doses of antibiotics to prevent infection. Most patients are able to eat solid food and get out of bed the day after surgery. You will most likely be able to go home by the third day after surgery.

Preparing for Surgery

Making simple changes in your home before surgery can make your recovery easier.

For the first several weeks after your surgery, it will be hard to reach high shelves and cupboards. Before your surgery, be sure to go through your home and place any items you may need afterwards on low shelves.

When you come home from the hospital, you will need help for a few weeks with some daily tasks like dressing, bathing, cooking and laundry. If you will not have any support at home immediately after shoulder surgery, you may need a short stay in a rehabilitation facility until you become more independent.

Before Your Operation

Wear loose-fitting clothes and a button-front shirt when you go to the hospital for your surgery. After surgery, you will be wearing a sling and will have limited use of your arm.

Pain Management

After surgery, you will feel some pain, but your surgeon and nurses will provide medication to make you feel as comfortable as possible. Physical therapy will begin soon after surgery, and when you feel less pain, you can start moving sooner and get your strength back more quickly. Talk with your surgeon if postoperative pain becomes a problem.

Your Recovery and Rehabilitation Process

Most shoulder replacement surgery patients are able to return home immediately after their stay at the Joint Replacement Center. You may also be referred to CHI Health Home Care or a transitional care unit. 

Whatever the case, we will make sure you have access to all of the resources you need, including nursing, home health aides and physical and occupational therapy. If you need additional assistance, a social service/case manager will help arrange for home healthcare, outpatient therapy or placement in a skilled nursing facility or acute rehabilitation center. 

After you leave the Joint Replacement Center, you will be given detailed information and instructions for exercises to do at home to aid in your rehabilitation. We will also give family members detailed instructions on how they can assist in your recovery at home. Depending on your unique needs, you may also be referred to CHI Health Rehabilitation Care.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

Reverse total shoulder replacement is an excellent option for patients with shoulder arthritis and a torn rotator cuff. No formal rehabilitation is required after this surgery.


Are You a Candidate for Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Find an expert orthopedic surgeon at CHI Health to see if the procedure may be right for you.