Practice Policy Update regarding COVID-19

What to Expect After Having a Shoulder Replacement Surgery

What to Expect After Having a Shoulder Replacement Surgery
What to Expect After  Having a Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Having undergone shoulder replacement surgery at South Palm Orthopedics, you are well on the way to getting back to your active lifestyle. However, the initial post surgical period does pose some challenges that you need to be prepared for. Here’s what to expect after having shoulder replacement surgery:

Immediately after the surgery, you will be placed on antibiotics to prevent infection of the surgical incisions. After a period of rest in the recovery room, you will be evaluated to determine if you are ready for discharge. Most likely, you will be discharged on the same day as the surgery or after an overnight stay with your arm in a sling. Expect to gradually start eating solid food and get back to your regular diet. 

During the first few days at home, you may have to use the pain medications prescribed by your surgeon. Take them only as recommended to avoid side effects. You will be instructed on gentle physical therapy exercises which must be performed regularly to improve shoulder mobility. Arrange to have someone around to help you with activities of daily living for a couple of days.

During the first 2-4 weeks expect to still use the sling to protect and support your shoulder. If staples have been used to close the surgical site, they will be removed by the 3rd week after surgery. You can slowly begin to add light-resistance exercises to regain shoulder strength, but don’t lift anything that weighs more than a few pounds.

About 6 weeks after surgery, your shoulder should be strong enough to perform most household tasks such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning. However, you should still avoid extreme range of motion. You may occasionally have some shoulder pain during or after physical activity.

By the 3-month mark you can expect to regain most of your shoulder mobility with only minimal pain. Plan to return to most routine activities; however, contact sports are best avoided at this point.

By 6 months to a year you should expect to reach maximum mobility and function with very rare occurrences of shoulder pain.

Of note, to make sure your road to recovery is a smooth one, be sure to follow the instructions provided by your surgeon as it pertains to medication use, rest, exercise, and activity modification.

South Palm Orthopedics is a medical practice devoted to the diagnosis and treatment of injuries and diseases of the body's musculoskeletal system. Our orthopedic surgeons have advanced fellowship training in the areas of hand & wrist, shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, trauma and fractures, foot and ankle, and sports medicine. The physicians of South Palm Orthopedics are committed to providing the highest level of orthopedic care to each and every patient each and every time.