Shoulder replacement surgery can successfully relieve shoulder joint pain in patients with severe pain due to arthritis, fractures, or severe rotator cuff tears. As an experienced orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Duc Nguyen can determine whether this procedure is the right step for your shoulder pain. Residents of Redwood City, California can call his practice to set up an appointment or use the online booking tool.

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Who is a candidate for shoulder replacement surgery?

Damage to the bones and soft tissue of your shoulder joint can result from a number of reasons, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Complications from a rotator cuff tear
  • Failed previous shoulder surgery
  • Severe shoulder fractures

If you have shoulder pain that interferes with daily activities, such as getting dressed and showering, along with moderate to severe pain while resting, you may consider some form of shoulder replacement surgery. Loss of motion and weakness in your shoulder and pain that doesn’t respond to physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and steroid injections are other indications that your joint needs surgical intervention.

What is involved in shoulder replacement surgery?

You may be a candidate for total shoulder replacement or shoulder hemiarthroplasty. With total shoulder replacement, Dr. Nguyen replaces the damaged joint surfaces with a metal ball attached to a stem and a plastic socket. During hemiarthroplasty, just one half of the shoulder joint is replaced. This procedure is usually reserved for cases in which Dr. Nguyen observes severe fracturing of the humeral head or in conditions of avascular necrosis, in which poor blood flow leads to degradation of the humeral head bone.

What should I expect during shoulder replacement surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery is complex and usually requires you spend a few days in the hospital. Exactly how long depends on how the surgery goes and your healing prognosis.

Before your surgery, you’ll be placed under general anesthesia. Dr. Nguyen then makes an incision in your shoulder joint to view the damaged tissue. He replaces the joint with the prosthetic and stitches you up. You then go to recovery, where the nurses manage your pain medications and immediate recovery.

How long does it take to recover from shoulder replacement surgery?

The staff gives you a detailed postoperative care plan to follow once you go home from the hospital. Much of your upper body activity is limited following surgery, and you wear a sling on the side of the affected shoulder for two to four weeks.

Dr. Nguyen may also refer you to physical therapy to expedite your healing and return to function. It’s important that you follow through with such therapy to resume optimal function. Expect your recovery to take six weeks or longer.