Advice for Speeding Recovery From Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Advice for Speeding Recovery From Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Shoulder replacement isn’t a minor thing, but it is the best solution to shoulder pain and mobility problems for over 70,000 people a year. Learn about replacement surgery and tips that hasten healing, so you can get back to a pain-free life.

Your shoulder is a ball and socket joint, and when compared to other joints in your body, it beats them all out in terms of its wide range of motion. You can move it forward and backward, from side to side, and rotate it. That’s why, when something goes awry, you really feel limited if you have pain and mobility challenges.

Sometimes the recommended treatment is shoulder replacement surgery. It may sound daunting, but if you need to have your shoulder replaced, it offers a long-term solution to shoulder discomfort. You just need an expert to perform it and see you through recovery. 

Highly respected, board-certified Dr. Timothy Kavanaugh and the AZ Ortho team are ideal choices when it comes to finding a practice with caring and experienced professionals who can not only see you successfully through your replacement surgery, but also offer ongoing care and support throughout your recovery process. 

AZ Ortho, located in Scottsdale, Arizona, also offers orthopedic treatments for a wide range of conditions. No matter which one you seek help with, you’re in the best hands. 

Important shoulder joint facts

Your humerus is the rounded end of the bone that fits within your shoulder socket. It’s supported by ligaments and tendons, which connect the bones and attach muscles to bone, respectively. Cartilage separates the bones so they don’t rub together uncomfortably. 

Whether you experience a traumatic or sports injury, a condition that causes degeneration like arthritis, a rotator cuff tear, or something else, your doctor typically starts with conservative treatments, like pain medication or physical therapy.

However, sometimes too much damage has occurred for those to work, and shoulder replacement surgery may be the only option that can restore your comfort and mobility. 

The good news is that the surgery is performed frequently — over 70,000 times a year — and if Dr. Kavanaugh determines that you’re a good candidate for replacement, he speaks with you in detail about how the surgery will enhance your quality of life. 

Too often, with orthopedic problems, we can go to ridiculous lengths to avoid a surgical solution, thinking that somehow we’ll just “band-aid” the pain with over-the-counter meds, live with the limited mobility, and adapt, but you shouldn’t go a day longer with shoulder pain and movement limitations when there’s a solution this advanced available. 

What’s involved in shoulder replacement surgery?

Before we talk about the shoulder surgery recovery process, it’s important to understand what the procedure entails. 

You may be advised to have either partial or complete shoulder replacement surgery. With a partial replacement, your surgeon replaces just the ball of the shoulder. During a total replacement, which is more common, your surgeon replaces your own ball and socket bone with metal or plastic replacements. 

Though the surgery is a major one, you’re generally able to return home from the hospital in a few days. Well before the surgery, your surgeon will explain how your recovery will go.

How to heal quickly from shoulder replacement surgery

As early as when you’re in the hospital after the surgery, you’ll be encouraged to move around, which is helpful for healing. 

You can take steps to make your recovery the fastest it can be, so you can get back into the swing of life and your favorite activities again.

  • You’ll wear a sling after surgery; make sure to wear it while sleeping too, to protect you.
  • Enlist the help of a friend or family member to check in with you and help as you recover.
  • Follow your doctor’s dressing changing advice closely.
  • Keep your incision clean and watch for signs of infection, which would impede healing.
  • Get a shower chair to use after surgery to reduce your fall risk.
  • Physical therapy is critical to healing; follow your PT’s advice to a T.
  • Applying an ice pack the week after surgery helps with pain and swelling.
  • Alternate ice packs and heat after a week. 
  • Buy front-closure clothing and slip-on shoes to make dressing easier.
  • Don’t drive after surgery until your doctor says it’s safe.
  • Introduce gentle, doctor-approved exercise in the weeks after surgery.

The best things you can do to speed recovery from replacement surgery are to avoid infection, stay active within reason, follow your doctor’s advice, and do all you can to minimize injuring your shoulder as you heal. Don’t push it, be patient, and you’ll recover just fine.

During the year following your surgery, you’ll see your doctor regularly to ensure that everything continues to go smoothly with healing. The surgery is worth it, since you’ll be able to get back to living life again, pain-free and with a full range of movement.

Contact our office at 480-697-4824 to schedule an appointment to discuss shoulder replacement surgery, or book one online

Review rating 4.95745/5
Total reviews 47