Reverse shoulder replacement surgery or reverse prosthesis is a complex procedure in which the ball is fixed to the socket while the cup is attached to the upper portion of the humerus.
It is a suitable choice for people who have shoulder pain due to shoulder conditions that previously had no solution, like rotator cuff tear arthropathy – a shoulder condition in which the muscles that help center the humeral head in the socket move higher than the socket due to long-standing tear in the rotator cuff.
The reverse prosthesis procedure also works better with people who have rotator cuff tears, shoulder fractures, shoulder arthritis, failed replacement surgery, or proximal humerus tumors.
Like any replacement surgery, rehabilitation is the key to the success of this surgery.
Rehabilitation for Reverse Prosthesis
Your rehab program after the surgery is aimed to re-establish muscle strength and shoulder joint function, restore range of motion, prevent complications, and give you the confidence to live a full life again.
Many factors, including your surgeon’s surgical approach, revision arthroplasty, arthroplasty after fracture, and the patient’s overall health, influence the outcomes of the reverse prosthesis.
Basic guidelines for rehabilitation are as follows:
Phase I – Day 1 to Week 6
Immediately after the surgery, you are advised to wear a sling day and night except during exercise, dressing, and bathing. The sling will take some pressure off the surgical site and aid healing.
Your physical therapists will also do some passive range of motion exercises and advise you to support the elbow of the treated arm with a pillow or towel while lying supine.
During this rehab phase, manage your shoulder pain with medications and ice. And do not do any overhead work or lifting.
Your first appointment with your shoulder surgeon may be two weeks after the surgery day, at which your surgeon will remove the dressing and discuss your progress with you.
Your shoulder surgeon may also recommend gentle exercises like passive shoulder flexion, hand squeeze, neck stretch, and pendulum. There should be no active movement of your operated arm in these exercises, but you may use your opposite arm to assist in the movement of your operated arm.
Phase II – Week 6 to Week 12
By week 6, you can stop wearing the sling but can drive and lift your operated arm shoulder-high. It is advised not to do any overhead activities. Your second appointment with your shoulder surgeon will be around weeks 8 to 10, at which your surgeon may discuss pain management strategies and range of motion goals.
Doing some isometric strengthening exercises three times a day after your second post-op appointment is recommended. Remember to do the exercises gently and don’t push through the pain.
Phase III – 3 Months – 6 Months
You may be allowed to do light lifting and start overhead work for a short duration (15 minutes). There should be no pain in the shoulder at this phase, and you should be able to perform TheraBand exercises recommended by your physical therapist.
By the end of this phase, you should be able to maintain a pain-free shoulder active range of motion and be able to complete light housework and work activities.
How to Get the Best of Your Rehabilitation?
Orthopedic surgeons do their best to ensure the reverse prosthesis is successful and physical therapists provide the best rehab plan to get you moving after surgery; however, remember that rest is up to you.
So, take your recovery and rehabilitation seriously. Follow the tips below to get the best out of your rehabilitation.
- Make sure to go to all the appointments with your shoulder surgeon – even when you don’t want to.
- Take your medications as directed, do not skip them, and do not stop taking them without asking your surgeon.
- Perform all the exercises, including home exercises, your physical therapist prescribes.
Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgeon in Southwest Florida
At Advanced Orthopedic Center, our shoulder surgeon Dr. Stchur has clinical acumen and all the skills needed for a successful reverse shoulder replacement. He performs over 400 shoulder replacements annually, most of which are reverse shoulder replacements, making him the busiest shoulder surgeon in the US and probably the world.
Dr. Stchur provides individualized and advanced orthopedic care and guides patients on every step to ensure their recovery is smooth and they enjoy the best possible outcomes.