Shoulder replacement is carried out for arthritis of the shoulder or after shoulder fractures which cannot be repaired. The main reason for surgery for arthritis is to relieve pain, however stiffness or loss of movement may also be improved.
Movement in the shoulder in enabled by the ball joint at the top of the arm bone, which fits into the shoulder socket. This procedure involves replacing the ball joint, and potentially also the shoulder socket depending on the degree of arthritis, through an eight to ten cm incision at the front of the shoulder.
The procedure is usually performed under general anaesthetic and requires patients to stay in hospital one to two nights after the operation.
Following surgery, patients will require a sling for up to six weeks and will begin physiotherapy exercises. It will take between two to three months to recover the movement back. During this time, patients may not be able to drive or work.