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Shoulder Replacement Surgery


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Shoulder replacement surgery — also known as shoulder arthroplasty — replaces damaged bone and cartilage in the shoulder joint with a prosthetic (artificial) implant.

Types of shoulder replacement surgeries include 

  • Partial replacement: a metal head or ball is attached to the top of the upper arm
  • Total replacement: both the ball and plastic lining are implanted inside the socket

Shoulder arthroplasty is a successful treatment for fractures, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, avascular necrosis, and other conditions that cause severe shoulder pain and injury.

We offer minimally invasive surgery and open surgery options. In addition to pain relief, the benefits of shoulder replacement surgery are improved range of motion, mobility, and quality of life.

Who Is a Candidate?

Shoulder joint replacement surgery is an option when non-surgical treatments — such as activity modification, injections, physical therapy, and medicines — don’t relieve pain. 

People who experience severe pain that limits daily activities and disturbs sleep are good candidates for a shoulder replacement. This surgery is not recommended for younger, active patients or people with:

  • Infections or poor general health
  • Osteoporosis (bone thinning)
  • Severe damage to the muscles around the shoulder

What to Expect

Shoulder replacement surgery is performed by an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in joint replacements and conditions affecting the shoulder, collar bone, and upper arm. The procedure lasts about two hours and requires general anesthesia and/or a regional nerve block (an injection that blocks pain signals to the brain). 

During the procedure, the surgeon makes an incision on the front of the shoulder. Using a scope with a camera, the surgeon removes the damaged pieces and attaches the prosthetic ball to the upper arm bone and/or the shoulder socket. After testing the prosthetic joint for proper placement, the surgical site is closed, and the shoulder is stabilized in a sling.

Recovery time for shoulder replacement surgery varies depending on the procedure and your condition. Most people spend two or three days in the hospital and then begin outpatient (clinic) rehabilitation and physical therapy. Most people can resume regular activities six weeks after surgery, but full recovery can take six months to a year.

Why Choose UHealth?

Personalized care for athletic injuries at the University of Miami Sports Medicine Institute. Our orthopedic experts work in conjunction with sports medicine specialists to help you get back to your optimal strength and performance quickly and safely following an injury. Whether you’re a professional or collegiate-level athlete recovering from an injury or someone who enjoys going for a jog a couple times a week, our world-renowned sports medicine specialists will help you get back in the game.

World-class care in an academic health center. As a research and teaching institution, we treat children and adults with proven, leading-edge procedures based on clinical studies performed at the Miller School of Medicine

The future of medicine is happening now. From diagnosis to treatment and follow-up, physicians work in teams to diagnose and treat each patient, using the latest technology and innovative approaches in their field. UHealth patients can participate in clinical trials and benefit from the most recent discoveries that are fast-tracked from the laboratory to the bedside.

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