Whether you suffer from arthritis or an injury to the actual shoulder, living with pain and immobility in the shoulder can affect your quality of life. Thankfully, help is available. If you have tried physical therapy and prescription medications without any relief or improvement, a shoulder replacement may be necessary. Even though an estimated 53,000 people undergo a shoulder replacement each year in the United States, most people do not fully understand this procedure. Here are a few facts you need to know about shoulder replacements.
The Shoulder Is Not Technically Replaced
When you learn you need a shoulder replacement, you may be frightened and overwhelmed by the thought of replacing your entire shoulder. Fortunately, this procedure does not involve exactly what you believe.
To understand the surgery, you need to understand the different components of the shoulder.
Basically, the shoulder consists of your upper arm, or humerus that has a ball at the end, which fits into the shoulder blade, or scapula. The ball of the humerus should fit perfectly into the rounded end of the scapula, allowing you to move the ball and socket in a smooth manner. Various ligaments and tissue are also connected to the humerus and scapula to help the shoulder function with ease.
In a total shoulder replacement, the ball of the humerus is replaced with a prosthetic piece, which is made of metal. New plastic will cover the socket surface, creating a functional ball and socket for the shoulder.
In a partial replacement, only the ball of the shoulder is replaced.
Determining which surgery is right for you will depend on the specific damage of the humerus ball and scapula socket. Even though components are replaced, the entire shoulder is not actually replaced during the surgery.
Proper Recovery Steps Are Essential
After the surgery, your doctor will recommend steps to take for the most successful and efficient recovery. In most cases, you will be able to leave the hospital a few days after the surgery.
Light pain and swelling is normal, so your surgeon will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications for relief.
Physical therapy is imperative after your surgery. You will work with a therapist, completing exercises that strengthen the ligaments and tissues of your shoulder to improve the function of the new components in your shoulder.
Low impact movements, such as light weight lifting and stretches are best because they do not place an excess amount of tension on the shoulder.
Shoulder replacements are common, but often misunderstood. This guide and your surgeon's help will give you a better understanding on what to expect during and after your surgery. For more information, visit websites like christophercschmidtmd.com.