Shoulder prostheses replace two joint surfaces of the worn cartilage.
A metal part is attached to the head of the humerus, and a piece of polyethylene is fixed to the scapula. These two parts are either sealed with cement or impacted by force.
Fitting a prosthesis is major surgery.
It should, if possible, be carried out in an establishment specialised in prosthetic surgery. The length of hospitalisation is usually around one week.
This operation requires general anaesthesia and its duration can vary between 1 hour and 2 hours. Upon waking, the arm is immobilised with a bandage.
The days following the operation
Fitting a prosthesis of the shoulder requires rehabilitation that begins on the first day after the operation. It helps maintain the mobility of the shoulder.
The exercises during rehabilitation differ depending on the person. Generally, during the first 20 days, the patient works with their physiotherapist. This is passive rehabilitation. The shoulder is held at rest, the exercises focus on the elbow, wrist and fingers.
The following three weeks enable rehabilitation of the muscles and shoulder. The patient first learns to contract the muscles without moving their shoulder. Then, these exercises will gradually be accompanied by shoulder movements.
After these six weeks activity returns to normal. Active rehabilitation exercises are usually performed for 3 to 6 months.
Pain and mobility
Generally, the pain disappears or is greatly reduced within 3 to 6 months following surgery. 2/3 of mobility is recovered but this varies according to the initial condition of the muscles.