You have had shoulder replacement surgery to replace the bones of your shoulder joint with artificial parts. The parts include a stem made of metal and a metal ball that fits on the top of the stem. A plastic piece is used as the new surface of the shoulder blade.
Now that you are home you will need to know how to protect your shoulder as it heals.
You will need to wear a sling for the first 6 weeks after surgery. You may want to wear the sling for extra support or protection after that. Some people also wear a shoulder immobilizer to keep the joint in place.
Rest your shoulder on a rolled up towel or small pillow when lying down. This helps prevent damage to your shoulder from the stretching of the muscles or tendons. You will need to keep doing this for 6-8 weeks after your surgery, even when wearing a sling.
Your doctor or physical therapist may teach you pendulum exercises to do at home for 4-6 weeks. To do these exercises:
Your doctor or physical therapist will also teach you safe ways to move your arm and shoulder.
These exercises and movements may hard but they will get easier over time. It is very important to do these as your doctor or therapist showed you. Doing these exercises will help your shoulder get better faster. They will help you be more actives after you recover.
Activities and movements you should try to avoid are:
Wear the sling all the time unless your doctor says you do not have to.
After 4-6 weeks, your doctor or physical therapist will show you other exercises to stretch your shoulder and gain more movement in your joint.
Returning to sports and other activities
Ask your doctor which sports and other activities are okay for you after you recover.
Always think about how to safely use your shoulder before you move or start an activity. To protect your new shoulder:
You will probably not be able to drive for at least 4-6 weeks after surgery. You should not drive when you are taking narcotics. Your doctor or physical therapist will tell you when driving is okay.
Call your doctor or nurse if you have:
Also call the doctor if:
Joint replacement surgery - using your shoulder; Shoulder replacement surgery - after
Updated by: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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