That’s a great question. I like to protect the shoulder for about three days just to let the incision kind of heal and get the covers off, so to speak. This surgery is not done arthroscopically. This is open surgery that makes an incision in front of his shoulder to replace the ball and socket, but basically, you’re waiting for that surgery to heal the shoulder itself. So, waiting just for the inflammation from a bigger incision to calm down for two weeks, not in George’s case, but typically, I’ll say the sling comes off after that numbing medicine is worn off, and then you can start moving it.
Physical Therapy and Patient Mobility
I get physical therapy involved next. Physical therapists can come to your house for treatment, or you can go into their office. Both are great options, depending on your situation. We do that, and from a shoulder perspective, I like to tell my patients if it allows you to do x go ahead and do x. From the surgeon’s perspective, there is no true restriction to that reverse shoulder.
Comparing Reverse and Standard Shoulder Replacement Recovery
For a standard shoulder replacement, I protect them for three weeks because there’s a particular rotator cuff muscle that we have to protect, which takes about three weeks to heal. I’ve done two or three total shoulders in one day, where one of them was reversed. The one who got the reverse was three weeks ahead of schedule compared to the other two. The endpoint with both methods is still a pain-free, good-functioning shoulder.
When Do You Need Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Diving into the reasons for a reverse shoulder replacement that’s where things get interesting. When you’ve got a situation where the rotator cuff muscles are torn beyond repair — we’re talking severe rotator cuff tears here — or you’re dealing with a complex type of shoulder arthritis known as “rotator cuff tear arthropathy,” that’s when the whole game changes.
Traditional methods won’t cut it because the ball-and-socket mechanics are out of whack. What happens is the usual ball-and-socket action is kaput, non-functional, nada. So, what we do with a reverse shoulder replacement is pretty clever — we switch the ball and socket’s positions, giving that poor, worn-out shoulder a new lease on life. It changes the way the shoulder naturally moves, but it relies more on the deltoid muscle, bypassing the faulty rotator cuff system. It’s like taking a detour around a road you know is going to be jam-packed with traffic.
This procedure isn’t for everyone, but for those with massive cuff tears, significant pain, and loss of function, who’ve tried everything else — physical therapy, medications, you name it — without success, this could be their ticket to a more manageable existence.
Start With a Shoulder Consultation
If your shoulder’s been giving you the kind of trouble that keeps you up at night, making everyday tasks feel like heavy lifting, give our office a call at (252)-443-0400. Our specialists at Carolina Regional Orthopedics, like Dr. Singh, can do an exam and talk about treatment options for your shoulder pain.