Shoulder Replacement Recovery Time

Complete Shoulder Replacement

A Complete or total shoulder replacement is a surgery to alleviate pain and improve function to the injured or arthritic shoulder. Surgeons will replace the damaged upper arm bone and shoulder bone or sometimes line them with special metals or plastic depending on the patient’s circumstance. The most common reasons for this surgery are normally due to a major shoulder injury or degenerative arthritis.

Shoulder Replacement Recovery Time

Once your surgeons repair your shoulder, your doctor will give you a recovery program. Now let’s go through what your recovery will look like.

Immediately Following Surgery

-Your Surgeon will determine when you will be returning home. This could be up to a couple days after the surgery to make sure it is safe for you to leave.

-You will immediately be given antibiotics to help prevent any infections from forming in your shoulder.

First Week at Home

-Your surgeon and physical therapist will teach you exercises to use right away to gently exercise your shoulder. These are very important and can greatly increase the pace of your shoulder recovery by strengthening muscles and increasing range of motion around the shoulder.

-With shoulder surgeries, normal daily tasks such as taking a shower, getting dressed, cleaning the house, may be very difficult. Tasks will take much longer, so ask friends and family for help around the house especially in the first week.

-You will have quite a bit of pain in the first week, as your entire shoulder is going to feel very tender and sore.  Make sure to use pain management when you know you may be doing something that may increase irritation to your shoulder.

-Your arm will be put in a sling to help with support.

-Avoid getting the surgical area wet.

Weeks 2-4 – Shoulder Post-Surgery

-You will not be permitted to drive in the few 2-3 weeks, so make sure there is someone who can get you where you need to be.

-You will continue to have a sling for support.

-Continue to avoid getting the shoulder area wet until it has completely sealed and dried.

-The more you stick to your exercise program, the faster you will recover to become fully independent again. You still want to avoid lifting anything over a few pounds, but continue all your physical therapy visits and at home daily exercises for the best recovery rates.

-If your shoulder has staples, this is the period where they are taken out.

Weeks 5-6 – Shoulder Post Surgery

-Continue physical therapy and recommended daily exercises. You will become stiff if you do not continue your exercises and this can set your recovery back.

-At this point, you should be able to lift heavier objects and should have total independence. Avoid putting your arm in unnatural positions as the healing process is still continuing.

-You will still have pain at this point, but it should be less severe.

3 Months – Shoulder Post Surgery

-There should be minimal pain at this point and your range of motion should have greatly improved. You will get feedback about this from your surgeon and physical therapist.

-Depending on your progress, you may be able to return to a normal workout routine again and daily activities should be second nature once again.

6 Months – 1 Year – Shoulder Post Surgery

-Your shoulder should be mostly painless at this point. Specific Weather can cause aching but other than this your shoulder should feel much better than it did pre-operation.

-Your shoulder’s muscle strength and range of motion should be fully recovered and most of the time is better than it was before surgery.

Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons – Shoulder Replacement Surgery

At Alabama Orthopaedic Surgeons we have over 60 years of combined experience and offer total joint replacements of shoulders, hips, and knees using the most modern techniques and latest technology. Contact us for more information on knee replacement surgery recovery!

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