Reverse shoulder replacement surgery is sometimes recommended for patients with a rotator cuff tear that cannot be repaired, or when other types of treatments have not worked for chronic shoulder pain not associated with arthritis. In this surgery, the ball and socket joint of the shoulder is replaced. However, unlike a traditional total shoulder replacement, the ball and socket components are switched.
Replacing parts of a joint as complex as the shoulder comes with a tough recovery process that you can make easier if you know what to expect.
What to Expect After Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery
- Joint immobilization - Immediately after surgery you will be fitted with a sling designed to keep the shoulder joint stable and immobilized. It is a good idea to have help from friends and family for the first few days as you will need assistance with basic daily tasks.
- Limited range of motion - For the first few weeks after surgery, you will be unable to lift your arm above your head. Plan in advance by moving essential objects in your home to lower shelves or counter tops where you can reach them.
- Medication - Your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection and medication to help reduce pain right after shoulder surgery. If you can, fill these prescriptions in advance so you don't have to worry about it while you recover.
- Rehabilitation exercises - You can generally begin limited range of motion exercises relatively soon after surgery. Work with a physical therapist to determine the best course of action as you recover to make sure you build strength and protect the healing tissues at the same time.
- Cold compression therapy - Some doctors recommend active cold and compression to help accelerate the healing process. Therapeutic cold helps reduce pain and swelling, while active compression reduces edema and removes cellular waste products from the affected shoulder joint.
- Follow-up visits - You may need to return to the doctor for x-rays and exams to ensure that the recovery process is progressing as expected.
- Recovery success - Depending on the extent of your original injury, after several months you will probably have little or no pain and a return to normal range of motion.
If your doctor or physical therapist recommends cold compression therapy for your shoulder surgery recovery, ask for Game Ready. Our patented technology provides deep-penetrating cold with simultaneous compression on the entire area surrounding the shoulder joint. Find a provider near you to learn more.
Are you ready for your reverse shoulder replacement surgery?