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Shoulder replacement

Preparation for shoulder replacement

You will receive instructions from your surgeon about how to prepare for your procedure. These will likely include asking you to stop eating at midnight the night before your surgery. If you smoke, you will probably need to quit for at least a few weeks before the surgery. You may also need to stop taking certain medications or supplements. It is essential to follow any preoperative instructions carefully to have the best possible outcome.

You will need to wear loose-fitting clothing and a button-up shirt on the day of your surgery. You’ll likely be admitted to the hospital and then will meet with your care team.

You will receive anesthesia for your surgery: either general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep, or regional anesthesia, during which you are awake but have no feeling. You’ll discuss these options with your care team before the surgery.

Shoulder replacement surgery usually takes two to three hours. 


After your surgery, you will spend several hours in the recovery room and then will be taken to your hospital room. You will spend three to five days in the hospital. 

While in the hospital, you will likely use a morphine pump to control your pain. Your shoulder will be in a brace that is removable for physical therapy. Your physical therapist will show you exercises to do on your own to prevent stiffness. You will begin physical therapy within two weeks of your surgery.


Your rehabilitation plan is crucial to a successful surgery. It is essential to follow the instructions from your surgeon and physical therapist regarding home care and physical activity. You likely will not be able to drive for several weeks post-surgery. Most patients can return to simple daily activities such as eating or dressing within two weeks of surgery.

It is difficult to predict how your range of motion will change after surgery. Motion is very dependent on the range of motion before surgery and how intact the rotator cuff tendons are. Physical therapy can help restore strength and range of motion after an operation.

Shoulder replacement surgery is generally very successful for pain relief. Most people find that they can return to all or nearly all of their activities with minimal discomfort after they have recovered from a shoulder replacement. However, some still experience aches with overuse. 

The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.