Deaconess Joint Replacement

Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder joint

Shoulder replacement is surgery to replace the bones of the shoulder joint with artificial joint parts.


You will receive anesthesia before this surgery. Two types of anesthesia can be used:

  • General anesthesia, which means you will be unconscious and unable to feel pain.
  • Regional anesthesia to numb your arm and shoulder area so that you do not feel any pain in this area. If you receive regional anesthesia, you will also be given medicine to help you relax during the operation.

The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The round end of the arm bone fits into the opening at the end of the shoulder blade, called the socket. This type of joint allows you to move your arm in most directions.

For total shoulder replacement, the round end of your arm bone will be replaced with an artificial stem that has a rounded metal head. The socket part (glenoid) of your shoulder blade will be replaced with a smooth plastic shell (lining) that will be held in place with a special cement. If only 1 of these 2 bones needs to be replaced, the surgery is called a partial shoulder replacement, or a hemiarthroplasty.

For shoulder joint replacement, your surgeon will make an incision (cut) over your shoulder joint to open up the area. Then your surgeon will:

  • Remove the head (top) of your upper arm bone (humerus)
  • Cement the new metal head and stem into place
  • Smooth the surface of the old socket and cement the new one in place
  • Close your incision with staples or sutures
  • Place a dressing (bandage) over your wound

Your surgeon may place a tube in this area to drain fluid that may build up in the joint. The drain will be removed when you no longer need it.

This surgery usually takes 1 - 3 hours.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Shoulder replacement surgery is usually done when you have severe pain in the shoulder area, which limits your ability to move your arm. Causes of shoulder pain include:

Your doctor may not recommend this surgery if you have:

  • History of infection, which can spread to the replaced joint
  • Severe mental dysfunction
  • Unhealthy skin around the shoulder area
  • Very weak (rotator cuff) muscles around the shoulder that cannot be fixed during surgery


Risks of any anesthesia are:

Risk of any surgery are:

Risks of shoulder replacement surgery are:

  • Allergic reaction to the artificial joint
  • Blood vessel damage during surgery
  • Bone break during surgery
  • Nerve damage during surgery
  • Dislocation of the artificial joint
  • Loosening of the implant over time

After the Procedure

  • You may stay in the hospital for 1 - 3 days after your surgery.
  • While there, you may receive physical therapy to help keep the muscles around your shoulder from getting stiff.
  • Before you go home, the physical therapist will teach you how to move your arm around by using your other (good) arm to help.
  • Follow any instructions you are given about how to care for your shoulder at home. This includes activities that you should not do.
  • You will be given instructions on shoulder exercises to do at home. Follow these instructions exactly. Doing the exercises in a wrong way can injure your new shoulder.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Your new shoulder joint will last longer if less stress is placed on it. With normal use, a new shoulder joint can last for at least 10 years.


Information about Shoulder Replacement Discharge.

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