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Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Is total shoulder replacement right for me?

You may be a candidate for a total shoulder replacement if other treatments for shoulder osteoarthritis have failed to relieve your symptoms. You may be a candidate if you have tried the following treatments without success:

Additionally, if your pain is negatively affecting your daily activities and keeping you awake at night, you may also be a candidate for total shoulder replacement surgery.

About the procedure

During a shoulder replacement the old, damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with metal and plastic components. All of this work is performed through a four- to five-inch incision on the front of the shoulder.

The joint surfaces that are replaced include the:

There are several different types of shoulder replacements. Your orthopedic specialist will discuss with you the type that he or she feels will yield the best outcome. Typically, both the humerus and glenoid are replaced. There are also instances where only the humeral head is replaced. This decision is usually made during surgery and is based upon the quality of the cartilage surrounding the glenoid.

Preparing for total shoulder replacement surgery

Several steps need to be completed in the weeks before surgery:

The following will need to be done in the days before surgery:

The day of your total shoulder replacement surgery

Arrive at the hospital or surgery center two hours prior to your surgery. During this time, your nurses may run minor tests, check your blood pressure, and take your pulse. Your anesthesiologist will meet with you to discuss the type of anesthesia you will receive.

For more information, please refer to the presurgery handout you received.

Antibiotics are administered prior to surgery to help protect against any potential infection. During this time, your family may remain with you until you are taken to surgery. A member of your specialist’s team will also come in and address any last-minute questions or concerns you might have.

What can I expect after total shoulder replacement surgery?

Total shoulder replacement surgeries can be performed either at a hospital or at the Vadnais Heights Surgery Center or Eagan Surgery Center.

Contact your specialist immediately if you develop a fever or chills, have pain that is not relieved by medication, have excessive unrelenting drainage or calf pain, or if you fall. Call 911 immediately if you experience any shortness of breath or develop chest pain.

Leaving the hospital or Care Suites

Before surgery, you and your physician will establish a plan for where you will be discharged after surgery and who will be caring for you. After you go home, you’ll come to our physical therapy facility twice a week for ongoing rehabilitation.

Your first follow-up visit

After surgery, your treatment team will want to see you in clinic. At this appointment, you can expect to have any remaining staples removed, have X-rays taken, and receive instructions and guidelines for the next four to six weeks. Your specialist will provide you with physical therapy orders and can write a referral to a physical therapy clinic if you need it.

Potential complications during and after total shoulder replacement surgery

It is important to have realistic expectations about your total shoulder replacement surgery. Although they are rare, there are potential complications with any surgery, and you are expected to have a reasonable understanding of the risks. Please refer to our preoperative informational handout for further information regarding potential complications and risks associated with surgery.

Our goal at Summit Orthopedics is to assist you in this regard and help you have the best experience possible as you transition into this new phase of your life. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact your specialist’s team. They are available to help you and address any questions or concerns that you may have.