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What is a Total Shoulder Replacement (TSR)

What is a Total Shoulder Replacement (TSR)

TSR is a surgery performed for many reasons, including to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis in the shoulder, restore shoulder function after rotator cuff damage, or a fracture of the humerus (arm bone).The ultimate outcome of TSR is to reduce pain and improve quality of life. The surgery involves removing the damaged joint surfaces, and replacing them with implants to act as the joint surfaces.


What can Physiotherapy Do?

Physiotherapy can help at all of the 3 stages – preventing surgery, prehabilitation (before surgery) and rehabilitation (post-surgery)

  1. Prevention – prescribe appropriate exercises for you, based on your symptoms and presentation, to reduce pain, improve range, and strengthen the surrounding muscles to prolong or prevent the need for surgery.
  2. Prehabilitation – if you require surgery, physiotherapists can help ensure you are in the best shape to maximise your recovery and reduce your time in hospital. Your physiotherapist will teach you exercises to do in preparation, and begin practicing the exercises you will need after surgery. You may also practice using a sling, which you will need for a time post-surgery.
  3. Rehabilitation – your physiotherapist will assist your recovery greatly. They can use many different techniques to manage pain and swelling, increase your range, and strengthen the muscles around your shoulder.



The long term outcome and healing times of a total shoulder replacement will depend on the reason for surgery i.e. it is different for a person with osteoarthritis compared to someone with rotator cuff disease. Generally, full recovery is between 1-2 years. The estimated range you may get back after surgery will be determined by your surgeon, and is based on multiple factors, therefore is different for each person. As a guideline, driving is often commenced at 8 weeks however this will be decided by your surgeon. There may also be some restriction on the positions allowed in the early phase after surgery, but this will also be guided by your surgeon.