Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Shoulder replacement surgery is necessary when the shoulder joint becomes damaged. Some common reasons why the surgery is performed include:
  • Arthritis in the shoulder joint
  • Injuries such as broken bones or damage to the rotator cuff in the shoulder

What Happens During Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Before choosing to do surgery, the orthopedic specialist may instead try and treat the damaged shoulder with pain medication or physical therapy. However, if the shoulder is damaged enough , or other treatment options do not work, then surgery is usually the best option.

During shoulder replacement surgery, the damaged or diseased area of the humerus and cartilage in the shoulder are replaced with a metal and plastic joint. This is a major surgery that will usually require you to remain in the hospital for several days and to receive physical therapy afterwards.

If you have to undergo surgery for shoulder replacement there are a few things you will need to do to prepare for your hospital stay including bringing the following items with you to the hospital for your surgery:

  • Personal hygiene products like toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, deodorant etc.
  • Loose fitting clothes for when you go home
  • Glasses, hearing aide(s)- with cases for each
  • Wheeled walker- labeled with your name and phone number
Do not bring:
  • Anything valuable
  • Electric Equipment
  • Medications unless your surgeon asks
Additionally, you'll want to do these things before your hospital stay:
  • Take a shower or bath before your surgery; your surgeon/anesthesia clinic may give you an antibacterial soap or other medical wash to cut chances of getting an infection.
  • Use fresh bed sheets at home in the days prior to the surgery to reduce the risk of getting an infection.
  • Do not shave the area of the surgery; clipping may be done at the hospital if necessary
You may receive the following phone call before admission:
  • Surgical pre-admissions team may call to discuss your health history and medications
  • The operating room department will call you the afternoon before to provide you with information for day of surgery. If you have not heard from the clinic, you can call them at 210-358-7755.
It is important to remember:
  • Not to eat or drink anything after midnight the evening before the surgery
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing and low heeled shoes
  • Leave jewelry and valuables at home
  • Bring valid form of photo identification and health insurance card
  • Bring an adult with you

What Happens After Shoulder Replacement Surgery?

Our goal at University Hospital is to help you plan for your discharge even before you enter the hospital. Beginning with your surgeon, and the entire care team, we are planning to minimize your hospital stay to less than two days and get you within the comfort of your home quickly.

The case management team will be discussing the home care needs with you before your surgery. Your surgeon will make the decision on home care needs and will be set based on what is covered by your insurance approval. The home care needs can be different from patient to patient but will be set to what you need.

Day of Discharge

On the day of discharge, your care team is working towards a smooth discharge plan. The following will occur on the discharge day:

  • Physician and/or nursing staff will discuss your medication list
  • You will be provided with your discharge prescriptions
  • Your nurse will review the discharge instructions with you
  • The care coordination team will arrange for home care
  • Discharge time is before 11am and it is important to have your ride available. To make your car ride more comfortable, plan to bring extra pillows in the car and plan your pain medication accordingly.
Other discharge plans will be discussed by your care team if needed.


Discharge Checklist

Before leaving the hospital, be sure to know the following:
  • How to move safely
  • How to get in and out of bed
  • How to walk with a walker
  • How to climb stairs
  • Equipment you might need at home
  • What home care arrangments have been made
  • What symptoms should be reported to your surgeon
  • How long to wait before reporting unexpected symptoms
  • When you should follow-up with your surgeon and primary care physician
  • Know your medication schedule for home
  • Phone numbers to call back if you have questions for your surgeon or case management