The shoulder is a ball and socket joint. The ball portion of the joint is called the humeral head, and is part of the humerus (upper arm bone). The socket portion is called the glenoid, and is part of the scapula (shoulder blade). The humeral head (ball) fits into the glenoid (socket) and the two bones rub together as the shoulder moves.
In shoulder replacement procedure, doctors replace the ends of the damaged upper arm bone (humerus) and usually the shoulder bone (scapula) or cap them with artificial surfaces lined with plastic or metal and plastic. Shoulder joint components may be held in place with cement or in some cases they may be made with material that allows new bone to grow into the joint component over time to hold it in place without cement.
The shoulder replacement surgery is performed on an inpatient basis. Most patients are discharged from the hospital on the second or third day after the operation.
A careful, well-planned rehabilitation program is critical to the success of a shoulder replacement. You usually start gentle physical therapy on the first day after the operation. You wear an arm sling during the day for the first several weeks after surgery. You wear the sling at night for 4 to 6 weeks. Most patients are able to perform simple activities such as eating, dressing and grooming within 2 weeks after shoulder replacement surgery. Driving a car is not allowed for 6 weeks after surgery.
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