Shoulder Replacement Surgery: What to Expect During Recovery

Shoulder Replacement Surgery: What to Expect During Recovery

Shoulder Replacement Surgery: What to Expect During Recovery

Shoulder replacement surgery substitutes the worn regions of your shoulder joint. When you leave the hospital, your arm is in a sling. It will be advantageous if there is somebody to help you at home for a few weeks or until you have more stamina and can move around more acceptably.

You will return home with a bandage, stitches, staples, skin glue, or tape strips. You can terminate the bandage when your physician advises you to. If you have staples, your physician will remove them between 10 and 21 days. If you have stitches that do not dissolve, your physician will remove them between 10 and 14 days. Glue or tape strips will drop off on their own over time. You might still have mild pain, and the site may be swollen for several months following surgery. Your physician will prescribe you medication for the pain.

A physical therapist will direct you on what exercises to do at home.

You will continue the rehabilitation program you began in the hospital. The better you do with the rehab exercises, the sooner you get your strength and movement back. Depending on your job, you can return to work as quickly as 2 to 3 weeks following surgery, as long as you bypass certain arm movements, such as lifting. After that, it takes at least six months to return to total activity.

In the future, let all health professionals know about the artificial shoulder, so they will understand how best to care for you.

This care sheet offers you a general idea of how long it will take to recover. But each individual heals at a different pace. So follow the steps below to get better as fast as possible.

How to care for yourself at home

  • Rest when you are tired. You might take a nap, but don't remain in bed all day.
  • Work with a physical therapist to know the best ways to exercise.
  • You will wear a sling at night. It's also a good idea to place a small pile of folded sheets or towels underneath your upper arm while in bed to save your arm from dropping too far back.
  • Your arm should remain beside your body or in front of it for several weeks while you are awake and during sleep.
  • Don't lift anything with your arm for six weeks.
  • Ask your physician when you can drive again.
  • Ask your physician when it is alright for you to have sex.
  • Your physician may recommend you give up activities that place stress on that shoulder. This would include sports such as weight lifting and tennis unless your tennis arm was not the one involved.


  • When leaving the hospital, you will likely be eating a regular diet. If your tummy is upset, try bland, low-fat meals like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, or yogurt. Your physician may suggest that you take iron and vitamin supplements.
  • Consume plenty of fluids (unless your physician tells you not to).
  • You may see that your bowel movements are not normal after surgery. This is standard. Attempt to avoid constipation and pushing with bowel movements. You may prefer to take a fiber supplement daily. If you have not experienced a bowel movement after a few days, ask your physician about taking a gentle laxative.

We hope this helps you better understand what to expect after shoulder replacement surgery. Contact us today if you need an orthopedic surgeon in Deltona.