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How Long Will a Total Shoulder Replacement Last

How Long Will a Total Shoulder Replacement Last: A Comprehensive Guide

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post is for educational purposes only. This is not a substitute for a medical appointment. Please refer to your physician before starting any exercise program.

The total shoulder replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces the head of the arm bone, or Humerus, and the socket on the shoulder blade with artificial parts.

How Long Will A Total Shoulder Replacement Last A Comprehensive GuideThe number of total shoulder replacements performed each year is increasing exponentially, as nearly 53,000 are done each year. As more people are undergoing a shoulder replacement, there are people at younger ages having surgery. This can be a concern, how long will my total shoulder replacement last? The last thing anyone wants is to have to do a total shoulder revision in their golden years of life.

There are many reasons why total shoulder replacements might fail, but there are also prevention strategies that can help you have your total shoulder replacement last longer. See our helpful guide to understand how long total shoulder replacements last, what you can do to prolong your shoulder’s life, and what to void.

How long Do Shoulder Replacements Last?

You can plan on your total shoulder lasting close to 20 years in most cases.

The total shoulder replacement can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years however this is trending more towards the 20-year mark. In one research study, they found that nearly 90% of total shoulder replacements lasted more than 10 years.

However, this depends on several factors:

  • The overall health of the person
  • Co-morbidities such as diabetes, smoking, and obesity
  • Any falls or trauma to the shoulder
  • The success of the original surgery
  • Progress and strength after the original shoulder replacement

Even in patients who had a total shoulder replacement at an age younger than 65 years old, the overall success rate was 60%-80% that the shoulder replacement would last until 10-20 years.

total shoulder replacement pain

After a total shoulder replacement surgery, the most important thing you can do is keep your shoulders moving!

Keeping up with physical therapy after total shoulder replacement will help rebuild muscles and keep the shoulder strong and stable. The more active that you are post- total shoulder replacement, the better your chances are that your total shoulder will last.

How long Do Shoulder Replacements Last?

You can plan on your total shoulder lasting close to 20 years in most cases.

The total shoulder replacement can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years however this is trending more towards the 20-year mark. In one research study, they found that nearly 90% of total shoulder replacements lasted more than 10 years.

However, this depends on several factors:

  • The overall health of the person
  • Co-morbidities such as diabetes, smoking, and obesity
  • Any falls or trauma to the shoulder
  • The success of the original surgery
  • Progress and strength after the original shoulder replacement

Even in patients who had a total shoulder replacement at an age younger than 65 years old, the overall success rate was 60%-80% that the shoulder replacement would last until 10-20 years.

total shoulder replacement strengthening

After a total shoulder replacement surgery, the most important thing you can do is keep your shoulders moving!

Keeping up with physical therapy after total shoulder replacement will help rebuild muscles and keep the shoulder strong and stable. The more active that you are post- total shoulder replacement, the better your chances are that your total shoulder will last.

What are Total Shoulder Replacement Prosthesis Made of?

Total shoulder replacement prostheses are made of metal with a plastic liner.

The total shoulder replacement includes two parts: the ball and stem, which is about the size of a golf ball at its base or “socket” end; and the humeral head (the part that looks like your natural arm bone), which is round in shape.

The new Glenoid socket is made of a Polyethelene Plastic while the Humeral head is often a metal alloy with a titanium stem that gives stability to the Humerus.

Signs your Total Shoulder Replacement May be Failing

Even though a failing shoulder replacement is on the rare side it can happen. It’s important to know what to look for when that happens. The total shoulder replacement may be starting to fail if you have a:

  • loss of motion or rotation in your shoulder with sharp pain
  • Instability or a feeling that your shoulder is going to fall off
  • “clunking” or feeling that the shoulder is shifting inside the joint with movement
  • Unrelenting pain that doesn’t go away even with rest and conservative measures
  • It’s been over 15 years since the surgery
  • A recent infection that has affected multiple locations in the body

The most common cause of implant failure is loosening of the Glenoid socket at 52% of the overall failures.

If you do feel that your shoulder replacement may be failing, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your surgeon as soon as possible.

What Can You Do Help Your Shoulder Replacement Last Longer?

There are several things that you can do to help total shoulder replacement last longer. This includes making sure your motion and strength are at optimal levels.

Keep Your Shoulder Mobile and Moving

shoulder pulley for a shoulder replacementYour total shoulder replacement can last longer if you keep your shoulder mobile and strong. The more range of motion that you can keep and maintain, the healthier the muscles, ligaments, and tendons will be that were affected by surgery. Stretching and range of motion exercises are something you’ll have to do regularly after your replacement.

One of the best ways to keep the shoulder moving is using a shoulder pulley set.

Continue to Progress Your Shoulder Strength

If the muscles in your shoulders are weak, they will not be able to support the weight of the joint through normal daily activities such as reaching or lifting objects above the head level which can wear away at that total shoulder implant over time.

When you finish physical therapy your shoulder will still have a long ways to go to gain strength back. It can take up to 1 year for your shoulder replacement to feel normal and up to 2 years for the shoulder replacement to gain its full strength.

It’s important you continue your strengthening routine and make it a part of your weekly routine.

Work on Your Balance to Prevent Falls

Working on your balance might seem like an odd way to work on shoulder replacement longevity, but one of the most common reasons for a shoulder replacement revision surgery is falling on the shoulder.

You’ll want to practice your balance walking on even ground, going up and down steps, and getting in and out of a bathtub.

Some good exercises to improve your balance are:

  • Standing on one leg with your eyes closed
  • Walking heel to toe across a room
  • Standing on one leg on a pillow or wobble board

Being active with physical therapy after total shoulder replacement surgery is key!

What Should you Avoid After a Total Shoulder Replacement?

There are several things you should avoid after total shoulder replacement surgery. Certain things are obvious but others may not be as obvious.

  • Activities that require repetitive movement with any sort of weight such as carpentry, throwing sports, or heavy weight lifting.
  • Large impact activities such as hammering, punching bags, or intense mountain biking.
  • Impact sports such as rugby, football, or boxing.
  • Any activities with sudden quick and powerful reaching in a repetitive motion

Conclusion

The total shoulder replacement is a great option if you have been in pain for years. However, it’s important to understand how long total shoulder replacements usually last and what can cause your total shoulder replacement implant to fail.

It’s also vital that you continue the post-surgery exercises recommended by your physical therapist as well as staying active throughout recovery. These exercises are essential to help total shoulder replacement last longer. It can take up to a year for total shoulder replacement rehabilitation before feeling 100% normal and up to two years for total shoulder replacements implants themselves to feel like they used to.

If you do suspect your total shoulder implant is failing, it’s important that you schedule an appointment with your orthopedic doctor.

Total shoulder replacement is a great option to help with your total shoulder pain and improve your quality of life!

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