Shoulder replacement surgery has become a popular option for people seeking relief from constant pain. However, you need to be as well-informed as possible before you agree to this type of procedure. These are just a few of the questions you should remember to ask your doctor during your consultation. When you talk to your doctor, remember to bring a pen and a pad of paper with you to make sure you record all of the answers.
What Makes Me a Candidate for Shoulder Replacement Surgery?
People consider shoulder replacement surgery for many reasons. These are some of the more common ones:
- Pain that makes everyday activities nearly impossible, such as washing, reaching up for a book, dressing, etc.
- Severe pain that makes it difficult to sleep
- Weakness in the shoulder or loss of motion
- Failure of more conventional methods of treatment such as physical therapy, cortisone injections or anti-inflammatory medications
What Types of Complications May Occur?
As with any other type of procedure, shoulder replacement surgery comes with certain risks. Thankfully, most of them can be successfully treated.
All surgeries, for example, come with the risk of an infection. It could occur either around the prosthesis or at the site of the wound, and could take place either in the hospital or at home. While minor infections are typically treatable through antibiotics, a deep infection may lead to another surgery. It is possible the prosthesis may need to be removed.
How Do I Get Ready for Surgery?
You will first undergo a thorough examination so your doctor can make sure you are healthy enough to undergo shoulder replacement surgery. You will need to provide a complete list of any medications you may be taking, because you may need to stop some of them before your procedure. For instance, you might need to stop any medications that can cause excessive bleeding, such as aspirin, blood thinners or arthritis medications.
You’ll also want to make plans regarding your home recovery. Have someone with you who can reach shelves and cupboards, or make sure items you normally reach up to get are on low shelves or on countertops. You will also need help performing tasks such as cooking, bathing and dressing. If you do not have that type of help, you may need to stay in a rehab facility until you regain your independence.
What Will My Recovery Be Like?
After your shoulder replacement surgery, you can expect to be in pain, but you’ll receive a prescription for medication to help manage that pain. After a few days, you will likely start a light physical therapy regimen, which will increase in intensity as your shoulder gets stronger.
You will probably be in a sling anywhere from two to four weeks after your procedure to help protect the new joint. Any stitches or staples in your wound will be removed several weeks after the surgery. Make sure you do not allow the wound to get wet until your doctor says it is OK.
It could take a few months until you are completely recovered from the surgery. However, in the long run, you should find it will be worth it because your quality of life will improve substantially. You’ll be in less pain and have a significantly increased range of motion and strength.
Please get in touch with an expert at Regional Orthopedics if you would like more information about shoulder replacement surgery. Contact us online or give us a call at 718.477.5479.