Are there any special precautions that I need to take after this surgery?
It is very important that you where your sling at all times for the first 6 weeks after your procedure. Only remove your sling for bathing and getting dressed.
Also you should keep your arm flexed in front of your body so that you can see the elbow. To do this while you are lying down or sleeping, place a small pillow behind your elbow. This is very important in the first 6 weeks because the shoulder is at greatest risk for dislocation during this time. And the position in which your shoulder is at greatest risk for dislocation is the same position as when you would reach into your back pocket.
Avoiding this position in the first 6 weeks will help you prevent dislocation of the shoulder. Dislocation is very rare after 6 weeks. So be careful in this initial period.
Why am I not doing a lot of therapy after I have had a reverse total shoulder replacement?
While you will do some physical therapy after a reverse total shoulder replacement, it is not nearly as extensive as if you had a conventional anatomic total shoulder replacement. This is because stiffness is not usually as much of a problem in reverse total shoulder replacement as it can be with conventional total shoulder replacement. Therefore many of the early range of motion exercises that are done for other shoulder surgeries are not necessary after reverse total shoulder replacement.
What types of activities can I do after reverse total shoulder replacement?
Reverse total shoulder replacement is a procedure that is typically done for older individuals with severe shoulder problems. It is what is known as a “salvage procedure.” In other words there are not many options for surgery beyond the reverse total shoulder replacement. Also, there are not a lot of long term studies to guide us with regard to activity level after this procedure as it has not been in existence for as long as some replacement procedures such as hip and knee replacement.
Therefore it is important to exercise some caution with your activity level after a reverse total shoulder replacement. In general light activity such as housework is ok. In addition sports such as golf are probably fine. As with most joint replacements the heavier you use them the faster they may wear out over time.
What materials make up my reverse total shoulder replacement?
The stem (humerus) portion of the reverse shoulder is the same as in an anatomic shoulder replacement. The difference is that the metal ball is placed on the bone socket and the plastic liner is placed instead on the stem.