Ever feel like your shoulder pain is holding you back? If your shoulder joint has started to deteriorate from aging, arthritis, or injury, you may have thought about shoulder replacement surgery as a way to regain your life. Shoulder replacement has become the fastest-growing joint replacement surgery in India and for good reason.
Like knee and hip replacements, Shoulder Replacement Surgery can be a safe and effective way to relieve chronic shoulder pain and restore mobility. While shoulder replacement isn’t brand new, advancements in surgical techniques and implant technology over the last decade or so have made it a viable option for more people suffering from end-stage shoulder joint disease.
If you’re struggling daily with a painful, stiff shoulder that isn’t getting better with rest or physical therapy, it may be time to consider shoulder replacement.
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The Growing Popularity of Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Shoulder replacement surgery has exploded in popularity over the last decade. If chronic shoulder pain from arthritis or injury is making daily life difficult, shoulder replacement may be an option worth considering.
As the fastest-growing joint replacement procedure in India, shoulder replacement has been performed over 30,000 times. Like knee and hip replacements, it has proven to be an effective way to relieve pain and restore mobility. The implants used can last 15-20 years.
The surgery involves removing damaged areas of your shoulder joint and surrounding bone and replacing them with artificial components made of metal, plastics like polyethylene, or both. The most common approaches are Total Shoulder Replacement, which replaces the entire joint, or partial shoulder replacement, which only replaces the damaged parts.
Recovery can take several months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, but most people experience significantly less pain and can return to normal daily activities. While shoulder replacement won’t make you 18 again, you’ll likely regain a functional range of motion and the ability to do small things pain-free that you haven’t been able to do for years.
The rise in shoulder replacement is partly due to longer life expectancies and more active lifestyles at older ages. As with any joint replacement, there are risks like infection, blood clots, and component loosening over time that you’ll want to discuss fully with your Orthopedic Surgeon. But for many sufferers of chronic shoulder pain, this life-changing procedure can be worth it. Freedom of movement and independence are hard to put a price on.
What Conditions Lead to Shoulder Replacement?
If your shoulder pain is severe and persistent, it may be time to consider Shoulder Joint Replacement. The most common conditions that lead to shoulder replacement are:
•Osteoarthritis The cartilage in your shoulder joint breaks down over time, causing pain, stiffness, and loss of movement. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and a frequent cause of shoulder replacement.
•Rheumatoid Arthritis An autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints. In the shoulder, it destroys the cartilage and ligaments, leading to pain and deformity. Shoulder replacement can help relieve pain and improve function.
•Rotator Cuff Tear The tendons in your shoulder joint wears down, fray, or detach from the bone. Surgery is often recommended if physical therapy and other treatments haven’t provided relief after 6-12 months. A shoulder replacement may be needed for massive, irreparable tears.
•Fracture A broken shoulder bone that cannot be repaired using plates, screws, or other hardware may require a shoulder replacement to treat pain and restore function.
•Avascular Necrosis Loss of blood flow to the shoulder joint causes the bone to collapse. Shoulder replacement removes the damaged bone and tissue and resurfaces the joint.
If you’ve tried conservative treatments to no avail and shoulder pain has significantly impacted your quality of life, shoulder replacement may provide welcome relief. Speak to an Orthopedic Doctor In Indore to determine if you’re a candidate for this life-changing procedure.
How Does Shoulder Replacement Surgery Work?
How the Surgery Works
Shoulder replacement surgery involves removing the damaged parts of your shoulder joint and replacing them with artificial components called implants. The implants are designed to mimic the movement and function of a normal, healthy shoulder joint.
The shoulder joint is a Ball and Socket Joint. The top of your arm bone (humerus) has a rounded end (ball) that fits into a shallow socket (glenoid) in your shoulder blade (scapula). In a replacement surgery, the ball is replaced with a metal implant, and the socket is resurfaced with a smooth plastic liner. These new surfaces then glide against each other to enable movement.
- The ball implant is made of cobalt-chromium alloy, a durable and biocompatible metal.
- The socket liner is made of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene, a durable, low-friction plastic.
The implants come in different sizes so your surgeon can choose ones that closely match your natural shoulder size and shape. Bone cement may be used to hold the new implants in place. With the new ball and socket in place, your shoulder joint will be able to move more freely and painlessly.
Recovery can take several months. You’ll need physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder and regain your range of motion and function. While shoulder replacement provides pain relief and restores mobility, you may still have some limitations in movement or strength. But most people experience significant improvement in their quality of life after surgery and the implants typically last for many years.
If your pain is severe and persistent, and more conservative treatments haven’t helped, Total Shoulder Arthroplasty could be an option to discuss with your doctor. When performed by an experienced surgeon, it has a high success rate of relieving pain and restoring function.
What to Expect During Recovery From Shoulder Replacement
The weeks and months following your shoulder replacement surgery are critical to your recovery and getting back to your normal activities. Here’s what you can expect during your recovery:
You’ll experience some pain and discomfort for the first few weeks. Your doctor will prescribe pain medication to help manage it. Ice your shoulder as directed to reduce swelling. Do the prescribed exercises to prevent stiffness—even though it may hurt, it will aid your recovery. The pain should start to improve within a month.
Physical therapy is a key part of recovery and rehabilitation. You’ll start gentle range-of-motion and strength exercises within the first week. A physical therapist will guide you through more advanced exercises over time to strengthen your shoulder and improve flexibility and function. Attend all follow-up appointments as directed.
- Do the at-home exercises as prescribed to complement your physical therapy. Consistency is key.
There will be certain restrictions on your movement and activities initially to allow your shoulder to heal:
- No driving for 4 to 6 weeks.
- Limit the use of the arm for daily activities like bathing, dressing, and eating for the first month.
- No lifting anything heavier than a coffee cup for 6 to 8 weeks.
- Avoid strenuous exercise and contact sports for 3 to 6 months.
Orthopedic Specialist will let you know when it’s safe to return to normal activities and driving. Be patient through the process—rushing recovery can damage your new shoulder joint or muscles and tendons.
You’ll have follow-up visits with your Orthopedic Doctor around 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after your surgery. X-rays will check on the positioning and fusion of your new shoulder joint. Your doctor will evaluate your pain, range of motion, strength and function to ensure you’re progressing as expected. Additional physical therapy or restrictions may be needed if recovery seems behind schedule.
With time and proper rehabilitation, you can expect to return to most of your normal daily activities after a shoulder replacement. But be prepared—full recovery can take 6 months to a year. Stay committed to your recovery plan and before you know it, you’ll be back in the swing of things!
FAQs Common Questions About Shoulder Replacement Surgery
What is shoulder replacement surgery?
Shoulder replacement surgery is a procedure where parts of your shoulder joint are replaced with artificial components made of metal and plastic. The most common reason for a shoulder replacement is severe arthritis, which causes pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility in the joint.
Am I a candidate for shoulder replacement?
If your shoulder pain interferes with your daily activities like dressing, bathing, and sleeping, you may be a candidate for replacement surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon will evaluate your shoulder mobility, strength, and pain level to determine if you qualify.
How long does shoulder replacement surgery take?
The procedure typically lasts 1 to 2 hours. Your orthopedic surgeon will make an incision to access your shoulder joint, then remove damaged bone and cartilage and replace it with an artificial joint made of metal and plastic components.
What is the recovery like?
Most people stay in the hospital for 2 to 3 days after surgery. You’ll have some pain and swelling, so your arm will be in a sling for the first few weeks. With physical therapy, the recovery process takes 3 to 6 months. You should avoid any strenuous activity, but light exercise like walking can help with recovery. Your range of motion and strength will improve over time with therapy and exercise.
What are risks of shoulder replacement surgery?
As with any surgery, there are risks like infection, blood clots, and implant failure. However, shoulder replacement has a high success rate for relieving pain and improving function. With normal use and activity, an artificial shoulder joint can last 10 to 15 years.
So there you have it, the basics of Shoulder Replacement Surgery. It’s come a long way and can provide a new lease on life for those suffering from chronic pain and limited mobility. If your shoulder pain is interfering with work, leisure activities, or just your quality of life in general, shoulder replacement may be worth discussing with your doctor.
Sure, any surgery has risks, but today’s techniques and materials have made shoulder replacement a very viable option for many people. Don’t just resign yourself to living with pain and suffering in silence. See if shoulder replacement might be the right solution to help you get back to doing the things you love. A life free from pain and full of possibility could be just Make An Appointment away.