During a shoulder replacement procedure, the doctor has two basic options. The first is to cap both the humeral head and scapula with a plastic or metal cover. The second option is to remove both, replacing them with a new joint that will function in basically the same way as the original bones. Once the ends of the bones are removed, the new replacement pieces will be screwed into the bone to create a sturdy connection that allows the bones to move just as the original ones did. A shoulder replacement procedure allows the joint to move in the same capacity that it did prior to the replacement procedure. In some cases, the person may have a greater range of motion than before the procedure was performed.
With proper care, the person may be able to resume their normal day to day activities in as little as three to four weeks. Although they may not be able to lift or pull to their full capability, their range of motion and flexibility will often be restored rather quickly. It can take up to six weeks for the muscles and tendons of the rotator cuff to be back to 100%. Doctors will often recommend waiting several weeks before resuming any type of weight-lifting in an attempt to safeguard against tearing or straining the rotator cuff muscles. Gradually strengthening the area is recommended. Taking the time to allow the shoulder to heal will dramatically reduce a person's risk of further injury to the area.
A shoulder replacement is recommended when a person has lost the full of use of their shoulder due to wear and tear on the joint, repeated dislocations, and excessive damage to the area. A case where arthritis has invaded the joint and has badly damaged either the humeral head or the socket located on the scapula may also call for a shoulder replacement. In some cases, the pain of the injuries is so severe that it can limit the range of motion and flexibility a person has. Limiting the movement of the shoulder can keep a person from being able to perform the tasks required for their job and will also have an impact on how they live their daily lives.