Shoulder Replacement


Types of Shoulder Replacement

Severe shoulder pain can affect your ability to function, making everyday tasks – even getting dressed – difficult. If shoulder pain is lowering your quality of life, you may be a candidate for a shoulder replacement surgery. People with certain types of arthritis or a severe shoulder fracture may also benefit from this procedure.

Our team first uses nonsurgical treatment methods like medication and physical therapy to relieve pain and increase function. If those methods don’t work or stop working, your doctor may recommend shoulder replacement surgery.

We will discuss your surgical options with you, determining the right treatment solution for you. Procedures we provide include:

  • Total shoulder replacement, to replace the shoulder joint
  • Reverse shoulder replacement, for people who no longer have a functional rotator cuff
  • Revision surgery, for people whose previous shoulder replacement surgery failed

The Aurora Difference

Shoulder Replacement at Aurora

Our orthopedic team treats thousands of people for joint pain – including shoulder pain – every year. In fact, we treat more people for joint conditions than any other health system in Wisconsin. This experience gives us a level of expertise that is hard to find elsewhere. That means better results and an easier recovery for you.

People also choose us because of our:

  • Advanced procedures: In addition to expert shoulder replacement surgery, we offer reverse total shoulder replacement for people without a functional rotator cuff. In the past, people without a rotator cuff had few, if any, treatment options. Now, this advanced reverse procedure can restore shoulder function and drastically reduce pain.
  • Results-oriented joint replacement: We maintain a Joint Registry, where we track and analyze every joint replacement we perform. This data teaches us more about what works best for the people we treat, helping us achieve faster recovery times and less scarring.
  • Integrated joint care: Your team includes orthopedists, physical therapists, primary care doctors and integrative care specialists. They all communicate closely during your shoulder replacement surgery, recovery and rehabilitation – so you get the most seamless care experience possible.
  • Convenient services: We offer many services at multiple locations so you can find expert care close by. For example, you can get imaging scans at an Aurora radiology center near home, or get expert shoulder rehabilitation close to where you work. And our electronic health record system keeps all your team members on the same page about your care, regardless of their location. Find a location.
  • Responsive team: Your comfort is one of our top priorities. Our outpatient surgery staff will help you feel calm and comfortable during and after your procedure. We’ll work with you to create a personalized pain relief plan for your surgery. If you have any concerns as you recover at home after your procedure, you can reach a skilled professional 24/7.

Types of Shoulder Replacements

Shoulder Replacement Surgeries We Offer

Our shoulder replacement procedures include:

  • Total shoulder replacement: During this procedure, we fit a plastic cup into the shoulder socket and attach a metal ball to the upper arm bone. This “cup and ball” joint mimics how your shoulder anatomy looks and functions.
  • Reverse shoulder replacement: This innovative procedure is beneficial for people who no longer have a working rotator cuff. During the surgery, we insert a plastic cup and metal ball in a way that’s similar to traditional shoulder replacement. However, in reverse shoulder replacement, we switch the placement, attaching the metal ball to the shoulder socket and the cup to the upper arm bone. This reverse placement allows you to use the upper arm muscle – not the torn rotator cuff – to rotate and lift your arm.
  • Revision shoulder replacement: If you’ve had a shoulder replacement surgery that failed, you may be experiencing severe pain and have limited use of your shoulder muscle. In a case like yours, we may recommend a second surgery, called a revision shoulder replacement surgery. Our experts have extensive experience performing this intricate procedure safely and effectively. The exact type of revision surgery you’ll have depends on your previous surgery, current symptoms and shoulder function.

What to Expect

Preparing for Shoulder Surgery

Your team will give you instructions about how to prepare for your shoulder replacement surgery. Please follow the preoperative instructions carefully to ensure a safe procedure:

  • Food and drink: You may need to stop eating and drinking a few hours before the procedure begins.
  • Medications: You’ll learn whether it’s safe to take your regular medications, or if you should stop taking them before surgery.

During Shoulder Replacement Surgery

The shoulder replacement or reverse shoulder replacement procedure takes approximately two hours:

  1. We’ll give you general anesthesia so you’ll be asleep during the procedure and not feel any pain.
  2. Your surgical team will perform the shoulder replacement procedure.
  3. You’ll move to the recovery room. Typically, you’ll only need to stay in the hospital for one night and will be able to go home the next day.

Find out more about shoulder surgery at Aurora.

Recovery After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

After surgery, your surgeon will let you know when to return for follow-up appointments depending on your progress. Typically, we see people at:

  • Two weeks
  • Six weeks
  • Three months
  • Six months

You’ll begin shoulder rehabilitation soon after the procedure, to help you regain strength and function.

Our physical therapy team will customize a rehab plan to meet your needs. Learn more about orthopedic physical therapy at Aurora.

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