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After Shoulder Replacement Surgery: Your Home Recovery

Call your doctor if you have:

  • Increased pain

  • Drainage, redness, or swelling around the incision

  • A fever over 101.0°F (38.3°C)

At home, your goal is to return safely and comfortably to your normal activities. To get the most from your new shoulder, you need to take an active role in your recovery. Be sure to continue your exercise program and see your surgeon for follow-up exams.

The first months

Man leaning over swinging arm front to back doing shoulder exercise.Remember that it takes 3–6 months for your shoulder to heal. Recovery from a fracture takes longer. You will have some pain and swelling at first. Your doctor may prescribe medication and suggest you use an ice bag. You may also continue to use your sling. Your exercise program will include more active use of your arm and shoulder. It’s important to do your exercises exactly as directed to regain maximum strength and movement.

Checking your progress

Your sutures or staples will be removed 10–14 days after surgery. Your surgeon will continue to check the range of motion and strength in your shoulder for the first year after surgery, and may see you once a year after that. Be sure to keep all your appointments and ask any questions you have. Your doctor may also recommend that you take antibiotics before you have dental work or surgery, and may give you a card that says you have a prosthesis. Use this card at security gates with metal detectors.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: Image reviewed by StayWell art team.
Online Medical Reviewer: newMentor board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Last Review Date: 7/25/2013
© 2000-2015 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.