An older woman massages her shoulder with a look of discomfort on her face.

Shoulder replacement surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery and rehabilitation at TRIA

Whether you’re painting the walls of a bedroom or throwing the winning pitch at a baseball game, you rely on your shoulders. Pain and stiffness can make it difficult to do the things you love, or even get through your regular routines. When this happens, a shoulder replacement might be the treatment you need to move comfortably and confidently again.

Our team of orthopedic surgeons, physical therapists and shoulder experts treat even the most complex shoulder conditions. With some of the leading surgeons in the Midwest and the latest in surgical techniques, we provide the world class care you deserve.

We’ll work with you to create a personalized treatment plan and be by your side from your first appointment through your recovery. Whatever your goals are for improving your shoulder function, we’ll help you get there.

"I'm deeply grateful for the superb medical care that was provided to me, resulting in a 100% functional and pain-free right shoulder post-surgery. I recommend [my doctor] and TRIA Orthopedics to family, friends and colleagues at every opportunity!"

Why are shoulder replacements needed?

The shoulder is a large ball and socket joint made up of bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments that hold the shoulder in place. Smooth cartilage protects the shoulder bones, allowing them to glide easily.

Conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and injuries can cause the cartilage to wear out. As the cartilage wears out, it can cause shoulder pain or stiffness.

Shoulder replacement surgery removes the damaged cartilage and replaces it with artificial parts that enable your shoulder to move normally, reducing any pain and discomfort. We’ll only guide you toward a shoulder replacement if nonsurgical treatments aren’t effectively managing your painful symptoms.

How to know if you need a shoulder replacement

The only way to know if you need a shoulder replacement is to talk to an orthopedic surgeon. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to talk to a doctor about your concerns.

  • You have difficulty getting dressed because of shoulder pain or stiffness
  • Nonsurgical treatments are not effective at managing your shoulder symptoms
  • You have shoulder pain while resting
  • You notice weakness or loss of motion in your shoulder
  • Shoulder pain is keeping you from doing the things you love

Types of shoulder replacement surgeries

Depending on your condition, we may recommend one of the following types of shoulder replacement surgery:

Partial shoulder replacement

A partial shoulder replacement, sometimes called a shoulder hemiarthroplasty, is a procedure where only part of the shoulder is replaced with prosthetic parts. Usually, the ball of the shoulder is replaced but it sits in the shoulder’s natural socket.

In some cases, our surgeons will need to resurface the socket during this procedure in order to smooth out any damaged tissue so the shoulder can move smoothly. This procedure may be recommended if the shoulder socket is in good shape with minimal damage.

Total shoulder replacement

A total shoulder replacement, also known as total shoulder arthroplasty, is when we remove the entire shoulder joint and replace it with an artificial one. During a total shoulder replacement, we remove all the damaged cartilage and insert a new ball and socket so your shoulder can move smoothly again.

This type of shoulder replacement is typically recommended if there is severe damage from arthritis or other conditions, and there isn’t enough healthy tissue in the shoulder.

Total shoulder replacement is the most common shoulder replacement surgery, but isn’t always the best treatment option. If you have a damaged rotator cuff or plan to remain very active after your shoulder replacement, we may recommend a different kind of surgery.

Reverse shoulder replacement

Normally, the ball of your shoulder is part of your upper arm bone and the socket resides in your shoulder blade. During a reverse shoulder replacement, this setup is reversed. Our surgeon attaches an artificial ball to the shoulder blade and an artificial socket to the arm bone.

We perform reverse shoulder replacements when a patient’s ligaments aren’t strong enough and they need the help of the muscle to keep the shoulder joint in place.

Shoulder replacement surgery recovery time

After shoulder replacement surgery, most of our patients go home in two or three days. You won’t be able to move your arm, wrist or fingers much in the days following surgery. You’ll also be asked to wear a removable sling for 4-6 weeks after the procedure.

The amount of time it takes you to recover from your shoulder replacement surgery depends on many different factors, including the type of surgery you had. In most cases, you can go back to work 3-4 weeks after your surgery, but it will take up to six months to heal completely.

Hotel Recovery Program

When you need care nearby, but still want the comforts of home, our Hotel Recovery Program might be right for you. With this program, patients are able to spend their first night recovering in a hotel.

This is often a more affordable option compared to an overnight hospital stay. And with the Hotel Recovery Program, we bring the care to you. You’ll have physical therapy and other follow-up care from the comfort of your room.

Physical therapy after a shoulder replacement

Physical therapy is an important part of your recovery. You’ll start working with one of our physical therapists as soon as possible after your shoulder replacement surgery.

The initial therapy will involve moving your fingers, wrist and elbow. Within a short period of time, you’ll begin motion exercises for your shoulder. Therapy will continue for several weeks.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)