What to Expect While Recovering From Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Patient talking to a Therapist

Every year, more than 50,000 people in the United States undergo shoulder replacement surgery to repair shoulders damaged by arthritis and other severe conditions. The operation has a high success rate, but the recovery process can be long and challenging if you don’t do it the right way.

Recovering from shoulder replacement surgery

If you’re expecting to have shoulder replacement surgery soon, you should prepare yourself for the recovery process afterward. Your doctor will give you instructions on what you should do, but there are some general facts to keep in mind that you can prepare for now, including:

  • You may need to stay in the hospital for a few days — Most people who have shoulder replacement surgery will be discharged from the hospital after a few days of monitoring and recovery. You should make sure any affairs are in order while you are away, such as watering plants or taking care of pets.
  • You may need to wear a sling for a few weeks — You will likely need to wear a sling for two to four weeks after your surgery. This will make some tasks at home more difficult, such as reaching for objects in high places. Before your operation, arrange your home to where everything is positioned in a place that’s easier for you to interact with while wearing a sling.
  • You will need physical therapy to help you recover — Many people who have shoulder replacement surgery will begin rehabilitation the same day. Your physical rehabilitation will likely continue for weeks or months while you recover. It’s important to follow through with your physical rehabilitation to reduce pain and improve the range of motion in your shoulder.
  • You may not be able to drive — If you had surgery on your right shoulder, you may not be able to drive for a few weeks. In the United States, we use our right arms for more activities while driving, such as shifting. When you’re in a sling or if your arm use is still limited, it may not be safe to drive.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for shoulder replacement surgery

Do you have chronic pain in your shoulder related to arthritis or a serious injury? Our orthopedic surgeons at the Florida Spine and Joint Institute can help you regain the use of your shoulder with shoulder replacement surgery. Contact us today to talk to our team about shoulder replacement surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.