Good As New: Shoulder Replacement

Inova’s Shoulder Replacement Program increases patients’ quality of life

(October 2, 2013) A new shoulder replacement program at Inova aims to provide a coordinated approach to care for patients with shoulder issues. A team of experienced orthopedic surgeons who meet strict participation criteria use advanced techniques for shoulder replacement surgery.

“Shoulder pain can reduce mobility, cause pain, and decrease function and independence,” notes program Medical Director Jeffrey Lovallo, MD, who performs most of the shoulder replacement operations at Inova. “Our goal is to improve these problems.”

Although not as common as hip or knee replacements, shoulder replacement operations were being performed as early as the 1950s. The procedure is similar to a total knee or hip replacement. If a patient requires surgery, a metal ball and plastic socket replaces that patient’s damaged or destroyed shoulder joint. Generally, doctors consider shoulder replacement more difficult to perform than knee or hip surgery due to the complexity of the procedure. While patients may need to spend more time in physical therapy getting back to normal, shoulder replacements do generally age better than hip or knee replacements, allowing patients to embrace a more mobile life for longer.

The patient-centered, quality-driven approach of the Shoulder Replacement Program focuses on positive outcomes. A well-performed shoulder replacement procedure means patients can return to the activities they enjoy.

“We want you to return to the things you love, whether that’s swinging a golf club, swimming laps or hitting an ace,” Dr. Lovallo says.

Coming Home After Shoulder Replacement

Your shoulder surgery should lead to reduced pain and increased range of motion. But how successful your surgery ultimately will be depends on how well you follow the surgeon’s instructions upon returning home, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The following are common recommendations:

  • Do follow the program of home exercises prescribed for you.
  • Do ask for assistance.
  • Don’t use the arm to push yourself up in bed or from a chair.
  • Don’t overdo it!
  • Don’t participate in contact sports or do any repetitive heavy lifting.

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