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A common cause for shoulder replacement is arthritis.

If your shoulder pain does not respond to conservative treatment your consultant may recommend shoulder replacement.

What happens during shoulder replacement surgery?

Shoulder replacement is usually performed under general anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about 2 hours. Local anaesthetic may also be put into the joint to help with pain control following your surgery.

Your surgeon will make a cut on the front of your shoulder and remove the damaged ball (head of the humerus). They will replace the ball and sometimes also the socket (see figure 1). They may also make any necessary repairs to your rotator cuff tendons (tissue that attaches muscle to a bone). They will close your wound and a dressing may be applied. Your arm will be in a sling. Most patients stay in hospital 1 – 2 nights.

A physiotherapist will visit you before you leave hospital to show you gentle exercises. You will not be able to use your operated hand for up to 6 weeks following your surgery. Be sure and discuss any concerns you have about daily activities with our care team before you leave.

Going home after shoulder replacement

Your shoulder will be sore and swollen for several weeks. You should take any pain killers regularly to stay ahead of pain and help you get mobile. Use ice packs or a package of frozen peas wrapped in a towel to help reduce any swelling in your shoulder.

Keep your wound clean and dry until your follow-up appointment. Follow any instructions you are given regarding increasing your range of motion or decreasing the use of your sling.

Over the next few months you will work with a physiotherapist to progress to more vigorous exercise. It is important to keep up your exercises so that your shoulder does not become stiff.

Follow any instructions you are given regarding lift or reaching.

It can take up to 6 months to see significant improvement. Range of motion and strength in your shoulder will continue to improve for up to 2 years. 
With any surgical procedure there can be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection in the surgical site (incision) or joint
  • Scarring
  • Chest infection
  • Heart attack or stroke

Specific complications of shoulder replacement:

  • Nerve injury
  • Dislocation
  • Fracture of the upper arm
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Loosening of the joint.
Find your nearest hospital that provides this treatment
Bournemouth  

67 Lansdowne Road, Bournemouth, BH1 1RW

01202 291866
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Brighton  

Warren Road, Brighton, BN2 6DX

01273 624488
Overall rating Meeting standards
Bristol  

3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN

0117 906 4870
Overall rating Good
Cambridge  

4 Trumpington Road, Cambridge, CB2 8AF

01223 303336
Overall rating Outstanding
Cheltenham  

Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham, GL51 6SY

01242 246 500
Overall rating Good
Chester  

Wrexham Road, Chester, CH4 7QP

01244 680 444
Overall rating Good
Chichester  

78 Broyle Road, Chichester, PO19 6WB

01243 530600
Overall rating Good
Derby  

Rykneld Road, Derby, DE23 4SN

01332 540100
Overall rating Good
Exeter  

Wonford Road, Exeter, EX2 4UG

01392 262110
Overall rating Good
Glasgow  

25 Beaconsfield Road, Glasgow, G12 0PJ

01413349441
Guildford  

Stirling Road, Guildford, GU2 7RF

01483 555805
Overall rating Good
Haywards Heath  

Burrell Road, Haywards Heath, RH16 1UD

01444 456999
Overall rating Good
Hereford  

Venns Lane, Hereford, HR1 1DF

01432 355 131
Overall rating Good
Ipswich  

Foxhall Road, Ipswich, IP4 5SW

01473 279100
Overall rating Good
Leeds  

2 Leighton Street, Leeds, LS1 3EB

01133 882 067
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Leicester  

Scraptoft Lane, Leicester, LE5 1HY

0116 2769 401
Overall rating Good
Newcastle upon Tyne  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 1JP

0191 281 6131
Overall rating Good
North Staffordshire  

Clayton Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme, ST5 4DB

01782 625431
Overall rating Good
Plymouth  

Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BG

01752 775861
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Shrewsbury  

Longden Road, Shrewsbury, SY3 9DP

01743 282628
Overall rating Good
Taunton  

Staplegrove Elm, Taunton, TA2 6AN

01823 286991
Overall rating Good
Tees  

Junction Road, Norton, Stockton on Tees, TS20 1PX

01642 367439
Overall rating Outstanding
Tunbridge Wells  

Kingswood Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN2 4UL

01892 531111
Overall rating Good
Warwickshire  

The Chase, Old Milverton Lane, Leamington Spa, CV32 6RW

01926 436351
Overall rating Good
Wessex  

Winchester Road, Chandlers Ford, Eastleigh, SO53 2DW

02380 266 377
Overall rating Good
Woking  

Shores Road, Woking, GU21 4BY

01483 227800
Overall rating Good
Wolverhampton  

Wood Road, Tettenhall, Wolverhampton, WV6 8LE

01902 754 177
Overall rating Good
York  

Haxby Road, York, YO31 8TA

01904 715000
Overall rating Good

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