Dr. Wilson deeply believes in trying non-surgical approaches to treat shoulder pain, injury, and osteoarthritis pain. These shoulder pain treatments may include physical therapy, lifestyle changes, medications, or steroid (cortisone) injections.
However, if all non-operative treatments have failed to alleviate pain or restore use of the shoulder joint, surgery may become necessary. In many cases, arthroscopic surgery, using tiny incisions, can repair an injured shoulder. However, in some cases a total shoulder replacement (shoulder arthroplasty) may be the best course of action.
Having worked with professional baseball teams like the Chicago White Sox, as well as active duty soldiers as a Flight Surgeon, Dr. Wilson approaches surgery with great care, recognizing pain free range of motion as a vitally important part of an active life. His empathy and care have earned him the Compassionate Doctor Award for the City of Raleigh, and patients can trust that he will take all necessary steps to prepare you, so you’ll be set up for a quick and well-informed surgery and recovery.
With that in mind, let’s look at some information about total shoulder replacement surgery.
What conditions cause a need for shoulder replacement surgery?
Many shoulder conditions and injuries can be alleviated through physical therapy, steroid injections, and lifestyle changes. However, if range-of-motion remains impaired or pain remains chronic despite non-surgical efforts, a shoulder replacement may be considered.
- Shoulder Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease)
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Post-traumatic Arthritis
- Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy
- Avascular Necrosis
- Severe Fractures
These are common conditions that can lead a surgeon to consider shoulder replacement, but any severe, chronic pain or impeded daily tasks may qualify a patient for surgery. A doctor will do X-rays, MRIs, and evaluate each condition on a case-by-case basis.
What does shoulder replacement surgery involve?
The idea of “total shoulder replacement” may sound intimidating, but, like hip replacement or knee replacement surgery, it’s a common procedure and often very successful at relieving joint pain and restoring use of the joint. Over 53,000 patients in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery annually.
There are several types of shoulder replacement surgery, including:
- Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery
- Partial Shoulder Replacement Surgery
- Shoulder Revision Surgery
- Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery
During the procedure, our experienced team will replace the arthritic or damaged “ball” of your shoulder joint with a smooth prosthetic ball, connected to the humerus with a stem. This smooth surface removes tension, stress, and pain by moving easily within the socket.
Depending on what the surgeon deems necessary, either the ball or both the ball and the socket could have to be removed in the surgery.
A shoulder replacement surgery is typically outpatient and only takes around 2 hours. Patients may spend a couple of days recovering in the hospital, where pain will be managed. Afterwards, recovery can be handled comfortably at home.
What to expect while recovering from shoulder replacement surgery
Patients should avoid lifting, pushing, or pulling objects that are more than one pound for several weeks following the procedure. Therefore, patients should be prepared for reduced functionality for the first few weeks. It’s helpful to have a family member or friend provide support during recovery, helping with self-care, daily activities, shopping, cooking, and driving.
Rest is an important part of healing, but so is movement. Your doctor will schedule regular physical therapy, as well as provide you with exercises that can be safely done at home to help ease pain, strengthen your shoulder, and provide a faster, better recovery.
Likewise, your doctor will provide specific instructions for care prior to the procedure. As an award-winning Raleigh Doctor, one of Dr. Wilson’s core values is accessibility. He will provide his cell phone number, where patients are welcome to text or call with any questions or concerns at any time. You’ll never be alone during your recovery — you’ll have a personal doctor on call!
Can shoulder replacement patients return to normal activities?
Yes! First and foremost, the goal of shoulder replacement surgery is to return comfortable use and range-of-motion, relieving pain and restoring strength and function. Many patients are able to take-up favorite sports once again, including golf, tennis, swimming, and more. Recovered patients can once again enjoy yoga, pilates, strength training — or even just picking up your kids or grandkids!
Dr. Wilson is Raleigh’s Award-Winning Shoulder Surgeon
After working with global leaders in the orthopedic field, Dr. Wilson has been recognized as Raleigh’s Most Compassionate Doctor and Raleigh’s Top Doctor. He’s served as an orthopedic Flight Surgeon for the U.S. Navy, as well as professional baseball teams like the Chicago White Sox.
While Dr. Wilson believes in surgery as a last resort, his rare blend of experience and passion give his patients the best chance for a satisfactory recovery. Don’t put up with shoulder pain any longer! Schedule an appointment with Dr. Wilson by calling 919-220-5255 or filling out an online form. Let us help you regain your mobility so you can enjoy an active, healthy life!