Shoulder replacement surgery can provide relief from pain and restore range of motion for patients with many types of symptoms. If you are interested in learning more about this procedure and whether it may be right for you, schedule an appointment with board-certified orthopedic shoulder surgeon Dr. Michael Bercik and our team at Lancaster Orthopedic Group today.

What to Expect After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

After shoulder replacement surgery, you will likely be instructed by your orthopedic surgeon to perform specific movements to facilitate healing. These exercises will help to keep the surrounding muscles strong and support recovery for your shoulder movements. For best results, you may be connected with a physical therapist who can help to develop a plan and keep track of milestones as you heal. This can help to identify any problem areas or concerns as they develop. While movements may feel difficult to perform right after surgery, it is important to follow the guidance of your physician to prevent scar tissue or stiffness from developing.

Will you need medications?

Pain medications and anti-inflammatory medications are common after surgery to prevent blood clots, reduce pain, and facilitate healing. However, it is important to speak with your physician about the right recovery path for you. Pain medications should be used only in accordance with physician instructions. For patients with concerns about opioid use or drug misuse, alternate forms of medications and pain management are recommended.

How should you care for your incision?

After surgery, it is likely that you will have stitches along the front of your shoulder. These stitches are typically removed at a follow-up appointment about one week after surgery. If you notice swelling, discharge, pain, or redness around your incision, you should speak to your doctor. Any signs of fever should also be reported to your medical team.

When you are in the hospital after your procedure, your incision site will be sterilized and covered with a bandage. It is important that you keep your incision dry and clean to minimize the risk of infection. Under the instructions of your physician, you will usually change your wound dressing daily. After you have your stitches removed, you will be able to gently let water run over the site and pat dry. You should not soak the wound in a bath or other body of water until cleared by your orthopedic surgeon.

Are swelling and bruising normal?

Swelling and bruising in the hands and arms are normal when recovering. However, excessive swelling and pain should be discussed with your doctor. Typically, movements such as bending and straightening the elbow can help to minimize the swelling by increasing circulation.

Your doctor will also typically provide a sling to stabilize the incision site and prevent any accidental damage to the site when healing. If you are in one position, such as when reading or watching TV, you can usually loosen the sling. However, when you are moving around, a tight sling is important to secure the arm and shoulder. Your surgeon will instruct on when it is okay to remove the sling and which activities to resume at different points during your recovery.

Ready to Begin?

Shoulder replacement surgery may seem overwhelming, but an experienced shoulder surgeon can walk you through each step of the process and ensure you feel informed about your care. To make an appointment with Dr. Bercik and our team at Lancaster Orthopedic Group, click the “Schedule An Appointment” link in the top right of the website or call (866) 564-1000.