Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Your shoulder is the most mobile large joint in your body, which also makes it prone to injury. Shoulder arthritis or injury can sideline you from the activities you love, and interfere with the simplest daily chores like putting away groceries or combing your hair.
At the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, our goal is to end the chronic pain you have from worn and damaged parts of your shoulder joint and restore function. If medications and physical therapy haven’t helped you, shoulder replacement surgery may be the best option. People who have shoulder replacements typically have severe, on-going pain from arthritis, rotator cuff tear, severe fracture or death of bone tissue (osteonecrosis).
Most patients are able to resume normal activities and low-impact sports without pain after surgery. In fact, research shows that almost 90 percent of patients consider their shoulder replacements successful when asked 10 years after the surgery. Still, it’s important to know that shoulder replacement surgery is generally more effective at relieving pain than restoring motion.
During a shoulder replacement procedure, your doctor will remove the damaged portions of your joint and replace them with artificial materials, usually metal and special medical plastics. These damaged surfaces exist at the end of your upper arm bone (humerus), the ball at the end of the humerus, and the curved part of your shoulder bone (scapula) that receives the ball. The new joint will be held together and moved by the same muscles and ligaments that normally move the shoulder.
During surgery, a three- to four-inch incision is made along the space between the arm and the collarbone. The procedure lasts about 90 minutes. The incision is then closed with staples or stitches. Patients typically stay in the hospital for one to two nights. Full recovery usually takes six to 12 weeks.
Find out more about shoulder replacement surgery.