Total shoulder replacement is an effective surgical procedure for treating severe pain and stiffness that often results at the end stage shoulder arthritis or a diseased shoulder joint or joint deterioration. The main aim of total shoulder replacement surgery is pain relief and restoring the motion, strength and smooth functioning of shoulders.
The surgery involves replacing the round end of your arm bone (humeral head) with a metal ball and putting a new smooth plastic surface on the socket part (glenoid). A Partial shoulder replacement requires replacement of the ball components only.
Total shoulder replacement requires an open surgery. The surgeon makes an incision along the front shoulder and upper arm. The top of your arm bone (humeral head) is removed and the artificial metal head and stem are cemented into place. Then socket part of the shoulder is replaced with a smooth plastic shell. After that surgeon closes the incision with staples or sutures and places a bandage over your wound.
The patient can return home after spending two or three days in the hospital. At home the patient needs to follow strict medications for complete recovery. Physical therapy plays an important role in the recovery process. The operated arm will be in a sling for a month with no regular movement and requires three months before reaching normal strength. It will take around four to six months for complete recovery. In the mean time the therapist gives specific instructions on shoulder exercises to be done at home.