A shoulder joint replacement is done for many reasons, such as an injury, arthritis, or torn tissue. Once the shoulder replacement is performed, you will have physical therapy for a few weeks, and eventually get much of your range of motion back. You should know, however, that your shoulder replacement will not last forever. Below is some information on how long it will last and what happens once it needs to be replaced.
How long does it last?
An article that was published in the issue of Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 2013 showed 90% of shoulder replacements lasted for 10 years, and 80% of shoulder surgeries lasted for 20 years. It was found that people over the age of 65 can assume that their shoulder replacement will last throughout their lifetime, but younger patients under the age of 55 had a lower survival rate. This is due to someone younger using their shoulder much more than someone that is older. The more the shoulder is used, the quicker the replacement will have to be replaced.
There are things you can do on your own to help your shoulder replacement last longer. In some cases, the doctor will give you a limit of what you can lift, so make sure you abide by this rule. The doctor may ask you to do stretching exercises on a regular basis to keep the tendons and muscles in good condition.
Antibiotics before dental work?
The doctor may ask you to take antibiotics before you have any kind of dental work for the first two years or so after your shoulder joint replacement. This is because, if you are cut in any way, bacteria could enter your bloodstream, including the joints in your shoulder. Once this happens, the shoulder joint replacement could fail.
In the past, most doctors told patients they would have to take antibiotics before dental work for life, but according to 2012 recommendations, people that have had a total joint replacement do not have to take antibiotics for routine dental work. This statement has been endorsed by both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).
Ask your doctor about this if they ask you to take antibiotics. No matter what they say, you should follow their instructions.
What happens when a shoulder replacement has to be replaced?
Once the doctor finds that it is time for you to have another shoulder replacement surgery, they will likely perform a revision surgery. This involves removing the original components along with cement the doctor may have used during the operation. In most cases, the humerus shaft will be thinner than it was during the first surgery. During the revision surgery, the doctor will remove some of the bone from the humerus, which will make it even thinner. This will increase your chances of getting fractures in the humerus bone.
When your shoulder replacement is finished, you will have to go through physical therapy to be able to gain some of your arm rotation back again. The therapist will also give you some stretching exercises to do at home to keep the shoulder from freezing up. If you have any questions about this, talk with your orthopedic doctor, who can give you this information in much more detail. You can contact a company like Bonita Community Health Center for more information about physical therapy as well.