Outpatient Shoulder Replacements

Total joint replacements are often required due to damage or deterioration.  Fortunately, the expert surgeons and staff at Beacon Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine can perform outpatient shoulder replacements. Since Beacon is an independent, specialized practice, a hospital stay is out of the question. In fact, while many health networks will keep a patient for two or three days after a shoulder replacement, patients that choose Beacon Orthopaedics are able to recover at home.

Dr. Robert Rolf, a board certified and fellowship trained orthopaedic surgeon, specializes in outpatient shoulder replacements. He has addressed many of the common questions related to this procedure.

What is Shoulder Arthritis?

Arthritis is a common disease that affects the shoulder, causing joint pain, stiffness and swelling. When a person gets arthritis, they lose cartilage or the cushion in the joint. Cartilage allows the joint to glide easily during motion. When enough cartilage wear occurs, bone on bone rubbing begins, which can be very painful. In addition, the joint becomes inflamed and there is usually a restriction of motion.

How is Shoulder Arthritis diagnosed?

Many patients will complain of a deep ache that can radiate down the arm. The pain usually gets worse with movement or activity. With time, there may even be pain at rest and eventually, patients will awaken at night with shoulder pain. Patients often complain of grinding and difficulty with motion. Patients are able to see orthopaedic physicians In the office, a physician will diagnose arthritis through a thorough physical exam and taking the proper x-rays.

What is Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

In total shoulder replacement, the damaged surfaces of the humeral head and glenoid (the “ball” and “socket”) are resurfaced with metal and plastic implants. The humeral head is replaced with a metal component and the glenoid socket is replaced with a polyethylene component that is glued in with bone cement. When both sides of the shoulder are replaced, it is called a total shoulder replacement. When only the humeral head is replaced, it is called a partial shoulder replacement, or shoulder hemiarthroplasty.

Why should I consider Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Shoulder replacement surgery should be performed to alleviate pain and improve function. It is an excellent option for patients that have failed other conservative measures such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication.

How long will my Shoulder Replacement last?After Outpatient Total Shoulder Replacement

Anytime implants are used to replace your normal anatomy, it is expected that they will wear with time. The survivorship of a shoulder replacement is up to 93% at 10 years and 87% at 15 years. (Torcia et al.) At one year from the time of surgery, 98.5% patients are glad they had the procedure done. Ninety percent of patients feel that their new shoulder has attained the 80 percent of what they feel a “normal” shoulder would be and 37 percent of patients think that their new shoulder is normal. (Warner et al.)

What are my restrictions after a Total Shoulder Replacement?

Most activities can be resumed after a shoulder replacement. A person usually resumes activities such as swimming, golf and tennis by six months after surgery. Activities that involve major impact (such as contact sports or those where falls are frequent) or heavy loads (such as lifting heavy weights) should be avoided since these may increase the chance of rotator cuff tears, hardware loosening, increased wear and/or fracture.

What will be my recovery time?

Patients whom undergo total shoulder replacement usually stay in the hospital for 1-3 days after surgery. Physical therapists will begin moving the shoulder on the first postoperative day and patients will wear a sling for the first 4-6 weeks. At that time, patients can use their shoulder as tolerated with a weight restriction of 5 pounds. Most activities can resume in 4-6 months.

What are the risks of Surgery for Outpatient Shoulder Replacements?

Complications are rare, but they are also real and do happen. Some of the more common complications include infection, stiffness, instability, component failure, fractures around the prosthesis and failure to get complete pain relief. Fortunately, the benefits of shoulder replacement far outweigh the risks.

What if I have more questions?

For any additional questions regarding outpatient shoulder replacements, or, if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rolf, please call (513) 354-3700 or schedule an appointment through our website and Zocdoc.