Shoulder Replacement

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At UVA, our surgeons perform a high volume of shoulder replacement surgeries, giving them experience you can count on. They have also all been fellowship-trained, meaning they’ve spent an extra year of training focusing on this procedure.

Your Shoulder Replacement Team

In addition to skilled surgeons, your shoulder replacement team includes nurses and occupation and physical therapists who specialize in orthopedic surgery. The joint care coordinator assigned to you will help you navigate the system, answer questions, understand your recovery instructions and more to make sure you have a successful surgery experience.


Shoulder Replacements

Stephen Brockmeier, MD, discusses shoulder replacements. View shoulder surgery transcript.


Types of Shoulder Replacement Procedures

Our expertise covers:

  • Total shoulder replacements
  • Reverse shoulder replacements
  • Revision surgery (repair of failed shoulder replacements)

Total Shoulder Replacements

When the normal ball and socket joint of the shoulder experiences wear and tear, inflammation, or injury, the resulting arthritis causes limited mobility and chronic pain.

Conventional shoulder replacement works when you have an intact rotator cuff. The procedure implants an artificial ball and socket joint made of metal and plastic, reducing pain and increasing range of motion.

Reverse Total Shoulder Replacements

This shoulder implant specifically addresses severely injured or torn rotator cuffs that cannot be repaired. This difficult-to-treat condition, rotator cuff arthropathy (RTCA), causes severe, constant pain that prevents raising of the arm.

In this surgery, we replace your shoulder socket with a metal ball and the ball of your joint with a plastic socket. This reverse procedure does a better job relieving pain and restoring movement for RTCA than the conventional type. 

Do You Need a Shoulder Replacement?

If you suffer from chronic shoulder pain from injury or arthritis that interferes with sleep, exercise, recreation and work, a shoulder replacement could be right for you.

First, we’ll try other treatments to relieve your symptoms:

  • Rest
  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Arthroscopy (removing spurs and loose cartilage)

If these treatments fail to relieve your pain, you might consider a shoulder replacement.

What a Shoulder Replacement Entails

The procedure itself takes between 1-2 hours and allows you to return to activities like golf, swimming, tennis and more within a few months of the surgery. 

Shoulder Replacement Recovery

  • Average hospital stay: 1 night
  • When you can shower again: 10-14 days after surgery
  • How long you’ll wear a sling: 4-6 weeks
  • You’ll be back at work: As early as 2 weeks, depending on your job

Key Recovery Questions

Can you drive?: Not until you’re off pain medicine and out of the sling

Will you need physical therapy?: Yes.