Three Important Steps to Prepare for Shoulder Replacement

Posted on 
May 29, 2024

Shoulder replacement is surgery to remove damaged parts of your shoulder joint and resurface them with smooth metal and plastic implants. Due to advancements in technology and surgical techniques, it’s more effective than ever at relieving pain and improving function in your shoulder joint.

As with any surgery, adequate preparation can help ensure the best possible outcome. Dr. Michael Bender, a shoulder and elbow specialist at Forté, walks us through three important steps of the pre-operative process and explains how they ensure you and your surgical team are prepared for your procedure.

Step 1: Patient-Specific Surgical Planning

First, Forté surgeons utilize new technology for surgical planning that helps personalize every total shoulder replacement surgery. During the pre-op process, they perform a surgical simulation using a virtual model of your joint that is generated from a CT scan.

This enhanced surgical planning helps your surgeon determine the following:

  • Where cuts should be made for the least invasive procedure.
  • The exact amount of damaged bone that needs to be removed from the joint.
  • The optimal size and placement of your implants.

Your surgical team can also use the software to create a 3-D printed customized guide (when necessary) to help align the implants as planned during your surgery.

Step 2: Individualized Assessment

Before your surgery, you’ll also meet with the in-house pre-operative medical team for an individualized assessment to ensure your experience is as safe as possible. You’ll receive information on how to prepare for your surgery, such as:

  • What to wear the day of the procedure.
  • What’s safe to eat and drink.
  • How to prepare your home for any limitations you might experience immediately after being discharged from the hospital.

The pre-op team will review your medical, surgical and family history and conduct a physical exam. They may order blood tests, urine tests and an EKG, which is a scan of your heart.

The pre-op team’s job is to ensure every patient is fit for surgery and outline a personalized plan for their recovery.

“They will determine who’s safe to go home the day of their surgery and who should be observed overnight to ensure there are no bumps along the road to recovery,” says Bender.

Step 3: Rehabilitation Education

Finally, you may participate in a one-on-one session with Forté’s physical therapists. Recovery from shoulder replacement surgery can take up to four-six months and will include several phases of rehabilitation. Receiving education prior to your procedure can help you set realistic expectations for your journey.

“After your surgery, you’ll be in a sling for about four weeks,” says Bender. “Patients have questions about how they will drive, shower, get dressed, eat and change their clothes. During an educational visit, a physical therapist will share tips and tricks to help make the start of the rehabilitation process as smooth as possible.”

Still have questions about what to expect before and after shoulder replacement surgery? Check out our many resources for shoulder replacements:

  • Read our guide to understand the different types of shoulder replacement surgery.
  • Find out how shoulder replacement is evolving with better implants and patient-specific surgical planning.
  • See how long it takes to recover from shoulder replacement surgery.
  • Learn which patients are best suited to reverse shoulder replacement surgery.

To schedule a consultation with one of our shoulder replacement specialists, call 317.817.1200.

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