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Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty)

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - What it is

​A Total Shoulder Replacement or Arthroplasty is the replacement of the shoulder joint with a prosthesis to provide pain relief and improve activity level and function. 

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - Symptoms

  • ​Shoulder pain
  • Reduced range of motion of the affected shoulder
  • Night pain or pain at rest 

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - How to prevent?

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - Causes and Risk Factors

  • Osteoarthritis of the shoulder
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis 
  • Post-traumatic arthritis (following a serious shoulder injury that caused damage to the bony structures, ligaments or tendons)
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Avascular Necrosis (blood supply to the shoulder bone is disrupted due to chronic steroid use, deep sea diving, heavy drinking etc)
  • Severe fracture to the head of the upper arm bone

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - Diagnosis

  • X-rays of the shoulder
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the shoulder
  • Computed Tomography (CT)

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - Treatments

Non-surgical options

  • Initial treatment involves reducing pain by resting and avoiding aggravating activities. 
  • Painkillers can be taken to help reduce pain. 
  • Your surgeon may recommend physical therapy with a physiotherapist

Surgical option

  • Based on your needs and severity, your surgeon may recommend surgery if non-surgical method fails to reduce your symptoms. 



Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - Preparing for surgery

  • Prepare front-buttoned shirts or blouses, preferably short-sleeved, for easy wearing. 
  • Prepare Ice pack to relieve post-operation shoulder swelling and pain. Ice pack can also be bought in the hospital from the physiotherapist.
  • Prepare wet wipes for cleaning of underarm area on the operated shoulder.
  • For female patients you may want to consider getting a front hook, strapless brassiere as the bra strap may put pressure on your wound  and also, you are not advisable to stretch your operated arm backwards
  • You may wish to practice using more of the unaffected arm to do daily activities like combing of hair, showering, having your meals etc. This is to familiarize yourself with the post-operative limitations of the affected shoulder.
  • As lifting of heavy weight on the operated arm is not recommended after surgery, you may want to do grocery shopping in advance or seek assistance from family or friends.

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - Post-surgery care

Postoperative rehabilitation vary depending upon the extent of the injury and repair, the quality of tissue and surgeon’s preference.

Your surgeon may order for an Arm Sling or Master Sling for the operated shoulder after the surgery. You may be required to wear the Arm Sling or Master Sling as much as possible, even when you sleep. Discuss with your surgeon on the duration of this sling. Do not discontinue the use of the sling until directed by the doctor.

Total Shoulder Replacement (Arthroplasty) - Other Information

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