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Recovering from Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery

If you are suffering from severe shoulder pain and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis or injury, your doctor may recommend total shoulder replacement. This procedure can relieve your pain and restore your mobility.

This surgery has an excellent success rate, and new surgical techniques are making the surgery even more effective. If you take this route, you will be undergoing major surgery so you need to know what to expect during your recovery.

Recovery Time

Recovery times for this operation vary, but you should expect the first stage to last around two weeks. You probably will not be able to drive for another two weeks after that. Your mobility should continue to improve over the first three to six months after the surgery.

The type of anesthesia your surgeon uses can also affect your recovery. Depending on your current health status, medical history and other factors, your physician will either use general or local anesthesia. General anesthesia sometimes has lingering effects that could slightly slow your recovery.


Patients are usually prescribed IV antibiotics after surgery to prevent infection. You may be given medications to prevent blood clots, as well as pain relievers. The doctor may also prescribe oral antibiotics for you to take after you go home.

Physical Therapy

After surgery, you will be urged to get out of bed as soon as possible. Your physical therapy may even begin the same day. The Physical Therapist will carefully move your arm and shoulder. During your time in the hospital, you will begin rehabilitation that is more intensive. Once you are home, you will follow an exercise program with or without the help from a Physical Therapist. This program will probably last about three to four months with additional strength training afterward.

As long as you follow through on your rehabilitation, you should expect your quality of life to improve significantly. Because this procedure is a major surgery, you should expect your recovery period to take some time. However, you should be optimistic about the final outcome.

For more information about shoulder replacement surgery, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital at (877) 918-7020 for help scheduling an appointment with one of our surgical specialists.

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