Leisure Yu, MD, Ph.D

One Commitment - One Focus - Our Patients

Total Shoulder Replacement

Total shoulder replacement surgery (arthroplasty) helps restore comfort and function to shoulders damaged by degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis when all other conservative treatments have failed to relieve pain. In shoulder arthritis, the joint surface is destroyed by wear and tear, inflammation, injury, or previous surgery.  

The goal of total shoulder replacement surgery is to restore the best possible function to the joint by removing scar tissue, balancing muscles, and replacing the destroyed joint surfaces with artificial ones.


Total shoulder replacement takes 2 to 3 hours and is performed under general anesthesia while you are "asleep." During the procedure, and incision is made in front of the shoulder, then the humeral ball and glenoid surface are replaced. It is an inpatient surgery and you will stay in the hospital for three days for pain management and physical therapy. 

Pain Reduction

Nerve Blocks: At the time of your surgery, you may receive injections administered by the anesthesiologist to significantly reduce shoulder pain, thus reducing your need for narcotics. 

Patient Controlled Analgesics: After surgery, you will be able to reduce your pain level by pressing a buting to deliver narcotics via intravenous tubing. Pain pills will be provided to you after you are ready to come off of the PCA pump. 

Cryo-Pads: Circulating cooling pads will be added on top of your surgical dressing to reduce swelling and decrease pain. Cryo-Pads will not be used on diabetic patients. 

Continuous Passive Motion: A continuous passive motion (CPM) machine is often used to gently move the shoulder while you are in the hospital. You will need to use these machines 6 to 8 hours per day. 

Rehabilitation Handout

To download a more detailed information sheet about your recovery, click here

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