Total Shoulder Replacement – Recovery and Rehab ProgramThursday, June 23, 2011 0:16
After undergoing Total Shoulder Replacement surgery, the degree of its success is a well-defined and properly guided recovery program. This program aids in a fast recovery and in getting back to your normal routine within a short period of time.
A total shoulder replacement operation helps a patient recover from arthritis pain and suffering and to resume many of his/her pre-operative activities. The surgery relieves the patient from pain but functional improvement varies from patient to patient as it depends on numerous factors. An important part of recovery requires the patient’s commitment to the surgeon’s recovery program and post surgical rehab plan. This may also include restricting certain activities, performing the prescribed exercises, and if needed, attending physical therapy sessions on a regular basis. Each plan takes the patient’s age and health into consideration; therefore, it is unlikely that one patient’s plan will be identical to another.
On completion of the surgery, the patient will spend some time in a post-op recovery room, before the patient will be moved to their room. If a nerve block, which is done to control post operative pain, is placed before the operation, upon awakening, the patient will notice that the arm on which the surgery is performed is numb and that the wrist and fingers may not move normally for up to 24 hours.
Many surgeons order an icing machine for placement on the shoulder, while still in recovery room. This helps in reducing swelling and pain due to total shoulder replacement surgery. Usually, the patient is instructed to continue with the ice packs even after discharge. Other key factors of a shoulder replacement recovery include:
- When the patient regains movement in the hand, it’s good to begin exercising as soon as possible. This normally includes making a fist in the hand on the arm on which surgery was performed. The patient will likely be instructed to hold the fist for five seconds before releasing and to repeat the action frequently. This helps keep the blood in that arm circulating and can aide in the reduction of bruising.
- Patients are given a sling to wear for four to six weeks following surgery. It’s necessary to be worn when in public places or when the patient is mobile such as climbing stairs. The sling can be relaxed only during sedentary activities such as watching television or sitting in a courtyard. Patients can return to work within the first 3-4 weeks and those with a more strenuous profession may require additional time.
- When the patients are in the hospital for two days following the surgery, during this time, usually a physical therapist will visit once or twice a day. The physician usually instructs a patient to begin exercises as early as the day following total shoulder replacement. These exercises are designed to strengthen the arm as well as keep it flexible. These exercises also depend on the patient’s age, physical activity, and health; however they are not load-bearing movements.
Total shoulder replacement surgery can be a highly effective procedure for resolving pain in the shoulder and improving functionality allowing the return to normal activities including low impact sports. Patients who have received treatment from the right orthopedic surgeon and follow their physical therapy plans usually reap the highest benefit from total shoulder replacement surgery.
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