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Shoulder Replacement Surgery Recovery Timeline

October 04, 2018

Shoulder replacementThe shoulder is one of the most widely used joints in the body. The shoulder plays a role in lifting, throwing a ball, and even just raising the arms to give a hug or wave.

Unfortunately, shoulder injuries and degenerative arthritis cause shoulder pain and a limited range of motion. Though there are non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment methods for alleviating shoulder pain, many patients find themselves in need of surgery.

Shoulder replacement surgery replaces the ball and/or socket of the shoulder joint to alleviate pain and restore joint functions. The results of shoulder replacement surgery are good, but patients should understand that recovery will take time.

Here, Dr. Edward Seade prepares patients for what to expect during the typical shoulder replacement surgery recovery timeline following treatment at his Austin, TX practice. With patience and care, patients can recover from this procedure with a renewed sense of health and energy.

Week One of Recovery

The first week of shoulder replacement recovery is usually the toughest. Patients are likely to have limited energy. Other common side effects during this time include pain and swelling.

It is important to allow the body to rest during this initial window of recovery. Although patients will likely be given gentle exercises to begin strengthening the shoulder, they should avoid any strenuous activities or any motions that put too much strain on the joint.

The most important thing that patients can do during this first week of recovery is focus on managing pain and taking prescribed medication to avoid an infection.

Weeks Two to Four of Recovery

The arm will be protected in a sling for the first several weeks following shoulder replacement surgery, so range of motion will remain limited for quite some time.

Although pain and swelling will subside, and strength and movements will gradually improve as patients continue working on physical therapy exercises, any more strenuous activities will still need to be avoided. Patients should not lift anything heavier than a few pounds for at least the first four weeks of recovery.

Patients should also refrain from driving during this time period, since they will not have a full range of motion. Because of continued physical limitations, most patients are unable to return to work until about four weeks after surgery.

Three to Six Months Post-surgery

As long as patients follow all post-surgical care instructions and stay committed to physical therapy routines, they should be feeling strong and healthy within three months of treatment.

Minor discomfort may still be an issue periodically, but it should be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Although each recovery process is unique, most patients are able to resume all of their usual activities between three and six months of surgery, including a moderate exercise routine. As an added precaution, contact sports or extreme exercises should still be avoided.

Six to Twelve Months Post-surgery

Within six to 12 months of shoulder replacement surgery, most patients are considered fully recovered. Pain should no longer be an issue, and patients should enjoy a full range of motion. In many cases, patients report that they feel stronger than they have in years.

Contact Us

Shoulder replacement surgery can alleviate pain and restore range of motion. If you would like to learn more about shoulder replacement surgery or the recovery process, contact us at your earliest convenience. Call (512) 476-2830 to set up a consultation with Dr. Edward Seade.