Dr. Steinmann shares what a total shoulder replacement involves.
A total shoulder replacement takes a surgeon about two and a half hours to three hours in the operating room. The incision is usually on the front of the shoulder and that’s a question that I get asked by lot of ladies is, “Is there going to be unsightly incision?” It heals up fairly well. It’s usually just a straight line right across the shoulder region, which is visible if you were in a strapless gown, for example.
But it’s not an unsightly incision, and in some cases we do minimally invasive techniques where I make a smaller incision, that’s the two and a half to three inches in length as opposed to a more standard incision, I do that sometimes. And after that two and half hour procedure the patient usually stays in the hospital for at least two days. Some of my patients will go home the following day, but usually plan at least two days stay in the hospital.
Then, activities that I allow them to do really depends on how the procedure went, and the repair that I got at the end of the procedure. Typically, in my patients, I allow them to return to normal activities, to discard at the sling after the second day and generally use that arm for activities.
The sooner they start moving, the sooner they can back full motion, but I caution them to generally use that arm in normal day activities; brushing their hair, eating, getting dress, preparing dinner and things like that, but avoiding the heavy lifting and motion such as slamming the car door for example. Just gently getting back into the swing of things, but I don’t like to keep them immobilized in a sling or a cast for any standard period of time.
But I do caution the patient that the formal therapy we do, the activities I allow them to do depends on what I find in surgery and there are many times during the other day I feel it’s important for the patient to wear a splint or a brace or a sling for an extended period of time for several weeks, if needed, to protect the repair that they got, which is in the patient’s best interest.
About Dr. Steinmann, M.D.:
Dr. Scott P. Steinmann, M.D., is on orthopedic surgery at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center in Minnesota. Dr. Steinmann received his medical training from Cornell University Medical College in New York, completed his residency in orthopedics at New York Orthopedic Hospital and completed a fellowships focusing on the shoulder and hand surgery from Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and Mayo Graduate School of Medicine respectively.