Severe arthritis and chronic injuries often lead to uncontrollable shoulder pain. You utilize the shoulder joints in everyday tasks, so when pain strikes, it affects your entire life.
Injections, medications, and physical therapy help shoulder pain, but sometimes, these treatments aren't enough.
If shoulder pain persists despite all other efforts, a shoulder replacement may be in your future. During a shoulder replacement, an orthopaedic surgeon removes the damaged areas of the joint and replaces them with a prosthetic, which acts just like the natural joint.
Shoulder replacement surgery is a big decision that Dr. Brandon Downs and the team at Orthopaedic Specialists can help you make.
Dr. Downs is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon, providing information on preparing for surgery and guiding you on what to expect from recovery.
Preparing for a shoulder replacement
Getting ready for shoulder replacement surgery may seem scary and overwhelming, but preparing is essential for a problem-free recovery.
Before surgery, Dr. Downs and the team take the time to make sure you're ready for the day of the procedure. We offer the following tips to help you get prepared in the weeks leading up to your shoulder replacement:
- Know where to go on the day of surgery
- Get a list of all your medications
- Prepare meals ahead of time
- Stop anticoagulant medications and NSAIDS
- Stop smoking or cut down on tobacco products
- Limit alcoholic beverages
- Pack a hospital bag if necessary
- Plan to wear a button-down shirt and comfortable clothing
- Pack your photo ID and insurance cards
- Arrange for a driver or caretaker
You must also take the call from the team the day before your procedure. They go over important information, such as the time of surgery and when to arrive.
The team reviews food and drink restrictions, which typically means no eating or drinking after midnight the day of the procedure. You may take sips of water with medications on the morning of the surgery.
While preparing for the day of surgery, you should also plan for the recovery period. Prepare for several months of intense recovery, and you must be ready before surgery day.
Dr. Downs offers the following tips to help you prepare for upcoming shoulder replacement surgery:
- Plan for someone to drive you to appointments
- Arrange for a caregiver to help around the house
- Prep meals to alleviate the strain of cooking
- Place commonly used objects at counter height
- On the day of surgery wash your hair
- Stock up on cold packs to reduce swelling
- Get a heating pad to warm the joint
- Move rugs and other tripping hazards out of the way
- Get prescriptions filled before the day of surgery
Every one of these steps is crucial to the success of the procedure. Tripping or falling after surgery is highly detrimental to the recovery process. Get your house as ready as possible in the weeks before the surgery.
Having someone you can rely on to drive you to physical therapy and follow-up appointments is vital, as you may not be able to drive for up to six weeks after surgery.
What is recovery like?
Recovery time varies for each person, but it usually takes at least six months to a year for a full recovery.
The recovery time depends on your dedication to physical therapy and exercises after the procedure. If you follow all the instructions and are steadfast in performing therapy exercises, you have a better chance at a speedy recovery.
In the first several days, you may have pain that should start to get better with each passing week. You can take the prescribed pain medication as directed to reduce discomfort.
You can typically shower within 48 hours of surgery, being careful not to fall or injure the healing joint.
Dr. Downs provides information on when to resume certain activities, such as driving or returning to work.
Call Orthopaedic Specialists today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Downs for shoulder replacement surgery. You may also request an appointment using the convenient booking tool on the website.