Joint replacement surgery is used to replace the ends of bones which are a damaged in the joint. This surgery makes new joint surfaces. In shoulder replacement surgery, the surgeon will replace the ends of the upper arm bone and typically the shoulder bone or cap them with artificial surfaces lined with either plastic, metal, or plastic. Shoulder joint components can be held in place with cement or made with material which allows new bone to grow into the joint component gradually which holds it in place. Surgeons generally replace the top of the upper arm bone with a long metal device, inserted into the bone which has a rounded head. If the cup-shaped surface of the shoulder bone which holds the upper arm bone is also damaged, surgeons will smooth it and then cap it with a plastic or metal piece.
Doctors suggest joint replacement surgery when shoulder discomfort and loss of function is severe and when medications and other option no longer relieve that pain. The doctor will utilize X-rays to observe the bones and cartilage in the shoulder to determine whether they are damaged.
Intravenous (IV) antibiotics will be provided for roughly a day following surgery. Patients will also receive medications to ease pain and occasionally medications which prevent blood clots. When patients wake up after surgery, they will have a bandage on the shoulder and there will probably be a drain to gather fluid and keep it from accumulating around the joint. Patients can also have a catheter which is a small tube connected to the bladder. Patients may have a compression sleeve on their arm as well. This sleeve squeezes the arm to make sure the blood is circulating in order to stop blood clots. A physical therapist can start gentle exercises of the shoulder with patients on the day of surgery or the following day. These exercises will be passive motions where patients relax and let the therapist move their arm for them.