Patients considering reverse shoulder replacement surgery may be concerned about what recovery looks like. Reverse shoulder replacement usually requires at least one overnight stay in the hospital and several weeks of recovery.
Here’s what you can expect after surgery.
In The Recovery Room
When you wake up after surgery, your entire upper extremity will be numb, and you won’t be able to move it. Usually, medication will be provided before the anesthesia wears off to manage pain symptoms. An ice pack may be applied to help control swelling. While it is common to stay in the hospital for one day, depending on complications and your overall health, you may be asked to stay at the hospital for up to three days.
Your arm will be placed in a sling for at least a month after surgery to prevent movement that could impact healing. Once the anesthesia wears off, your surgeon may be asked to move your fingers or hand around to help with circulation.
Physical therapy will also begin soon after surgery. A physical therapist will teach you exercises and stretches that can help improve circulation, reduce stiffness, and gradually restore muscle strength. Physical therapy exercises are safe movements that you can do without damaging the shoulder. An occupational therapist will also teach you how to perform day to day movements and tasks safely.
Recovery at Home
Your surgeon will provide detailed instructions before hospital discharge that includes guidelines on pain management, incision care, preventing blood clots, and physical activities. Take pain medication as directed and be on the lookout for signs of infection, such as swelling, pain, and warmth around the incision site, as well as fever. Keep the incision site clean and dry. The dressing may be changed daily or as directed by your surgeon. Ask your doctor about when you can shower.
Recovery from reverse shoulder replacement is by no means just staying in bed. While rest is encouraged, so is movement. You should continue the physical therapy exercises at home that you do with your physical therapist. While you should not strain yourself, it is best to do as much movement as you can in order to strengthen the joint and become independent. You should be able to use your arm in some activities during recovery, but never lift items with the arm operated on unless your doctor gives you the green light.
Patients who undergo reverse shoulder replacement often regain full shoulder function after six weeks of recovery. You should also be able to return to work about 2 months after the procedure. Always attend doctor appointments, so they can check your healing progress and you can ask related questions.
Shoulder Specialist in Naples, FL
The shoulder surgery experts at the Joint Replacement Institute provide the highest quality care and treatment for patients with shoulder problems. We make sure our patients know what to expect from each treatment and that all concerns are addressed and questions answered. We value patient comfort in everything we do. To make an appointment with a shoulder expert, call (239) 261-2663 or use our convenient online request form.