Total Shoulder Replacement
What is a Total Shoulder Replacement?
Total Shoulder Replacement (TSR) surgery can be performed for many reasons. These include; reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis in the shoulder; and restoring 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 the 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 assist at all 3 stages – preventing surgery, pre-habilitation (before surgery) and rehabilitation (post-surgery)
- Prevention – your physio will give you appropriate exercises, based on your symptoms and presentation. These can assist in reducing pain, improving range, and strengthening the surrounding muscles to prolong or prevent the need for surgery.
- Pre-habilitation – if surgery is required, physiotherapists can ensure you’re in the best shape to maximise recovery and reduce hospital time. Your physio will teach you exercises to do to prepare, and so you can begin practicing the exercises after surgery. You may also practice using a sling, which you will need for a time post-surgery.
- Rehabilitation – your physiotherapist will greatly assist with your recovery. They can use many different techniques such as; managing pain and swelling, increasing range, and strengthening the muscles around your shoulder.
The long term outcome and healing times of a total shoulder replacement is dependant on the reason for surgery. For example, 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, making it different for each person. As a guide, 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, which your surgeon will also guide you through.