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Shoulder Replacement

Shoulder replacement surgery, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, is a highly effective procedure for relieving pain and restoring function to a damaged shoulder joint. This surgery involves removing damaged areas of the shoulder and replacing them with artificial components, known as prostheses. The goal of shoulder replacement is to provide patients with a pain-free shoulder that can move more freely, improving their ability to perform daily activities and enhancing their quality of life.

Also known as: shoulder arthroplasty

from £11,495*

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Everything You Need to Know

Shoulder replacement surgery is considered when non-surgical treatment options, such as medications and physical therapy, have failed to provide adequate relief from shoulder pain and dysfunction. Common conditions leading to shoulder replacement include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, post-traumatic arthritis, and rotator cuff tear arthropathy and acute trauma.

The procedure itself can vary depending on the extent of damage to the shoulder joint and the specific needs of the patient. Options include total shoulder replacement, where both the ball (humeral head) and the socket (glenoid) are replaced; partial shoulder replacement, which involves replacing only the ball of the joint; and reverse shoulder replacement, a special procedure used primarily for cases with severe arthritis and rotator cuff tearing.

Recovery from shoulder replacement surgery involves a combination of rest, physical therapy, and gradual return to activities. The aim is to strengthen the shoulder, restore movement, and ensure the longevity of the joint replacement. With a carefully tailored recovery plan, most patients can expect to achieve significant improvements in pain relief, shoulder function, and overall quality of life.

This procedure highlights the advancements in surgical techniques and prosthetic designs, offering a comprehensive solution to those suffering from debilitating shoulder conditions. By addressing both the pain and the functional limitations these conditions impose, shoulder replacement surgery stands as a testament to modern medicine’s ability to enhance patients’ lives through innovative treatment options.

Before Surgery

Preparing for shoulder replacement surgery is an essential step towards a successful recovery and optimal outcomes. At St John & Elizabeth Hospital, we are dedicated to ensuring you are fully prepared and supported through every stage of your journey. Here is what you need to know before your surgery:

Consultation and Pre-Assessment

Your journey begins with a detailed consultation with one of our specialised orthopaedic surgeons. This initial appointment is crucial for discussing your medical history, the specific details of the shoulder replacement procedure, and any potential risks and benefits. It’s a pivotal moment for you to ask questions and express any concerns.

Following the consultation, you will undergo a comprehensive pre-assessment. This involves a series of tests and evaluations to confirm your fitness for surgery. These assessments may include blood tests, heart and lung function tests, and other relevant screenings to ensure that you are in optimal health for the procedure.

During Surgery

Undergoing shoulder replacement surgery at St John & Elizabeth Hospital means being in the hands of our expert surgical team, dedicated to ensuring the highest standards of care and safety. The surgery process is meticulously planned and executed to provide the best possible outcomes. Here’s what happens during the procedure:

Pre-operative Preparations

Upon your arrival at the hospital on the day of your surgery, you will be welcomed by our nursing staff, who will make you comfortable in your room and conduct a final review of your medical history and medications. Following this, you will meet with your anaesthetist and surgical team to discuss the final details of the procedure and to give your consent for surgery.

Anaesthesia and Incision

The surgery begins with the administration of general anaesthesia and a nerve block, which numbs the arm for 24h, providing post-operative pain relief. Once the anaesthesia takes effect, the surgeon will make a precise incision in your shoulder area to access the damaged joint. This incision is made with care to minimise tissue damage and to ensure a smoother recovery.

Removing Damaged Joint and Implanting Prosthesis

The core part of the surgery involves removing the damaged parts of your shoulder joint. If you are undergoing a total shoulder replacement, both the head of your humerus (upper arm bone) and the glenoid (shoulder socket) may be replaced. In a partial replacement, only the head of the humerus is replaced. For reverse shoulder replacement, the positions of the socket and metal ball are switched to create a more stable joint.

The new prosthetic components are then carefully inserted and secured. These components are designed to mimic the movement of a natural, healthy shoulder joint. The materials used in the prosthetics are biocompatible and chosen for their durability and performance.

Closing the Incision

After the new joint is in place, the incision is closed with sutures or staples. A dressing is applied to the area to protect the wound and promote healing. Your surgical team will also place your arm in a sling to support the shoulder as it begins to heal.

Throughout the surgery, our team uses advanced techniques and technology to ensure precision and to minimise the risk of complications. Our priority is not only to alleviate your shoulder pain and restore function but also to ensure your overall well-being and safety during the procedure.

After Surgery

Following your shoulder replacement surgery at St John & Elizabeth Hospital, your journey towards recovery and improved quality of life begins. Our dedicated team will provide comprehensive support and care tailored to your specific needs during this critical period. Here’s what to expect after your surgery:

Initial Recovery

Immediately after the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery area where our nursing team will closely monitor your vital signs as the anaesthesia wears off. Once stable, you will be moved to your private room to begin your recovery. It’s normal to experience some discomfort, but pain management medications will be provided to ensure your comfort.

Medically reviewed by Mr Abbas Rashid - BSc(Hons) MBBS FRCS(Tr&Orth) on 26/04/2024

Hospital Fee Guaranteed

from £11,495*

The price shown includes all costs associated with your treatment, from admission to discharge. Doesn’t include surgeon or anaesthetist fee. Our hospital fee is guaranteed at the price quoted and valid for one month from the date issued, subject to pre-assessment.

How to pay for your treatment

If you’re… paying for yourself

Did you know you don’t need private medical insurance to come to St John & St Elizabeth Hospital? As a self-pay patient, you can access safe, outstanding quality health care at times to suit you.

For scans and tests, as well as to see most consultants, you’ll still need to be referred by a medical professional like your GP, but as a self-pay patient, the process is more straightforward. You won’t need authorisation from an insurance provider, and you’ll have greater choice of consultant and appointment times.

If you’re… insured

St John & St Elizabeth Hospital is approved by all major medical insurance companies. If you have a personal private health insurance policy, or your company provide it for you, you can use it to pay for your care from your initial consultation through to treatment, surgery and aftercare such as physiotherapy. Not all private health insurance plans cover the same things. It’s very important to check exactly what you are covered for with your insurance provider.



Your first post-operative appointment will typically occur within 2 weeks after your surgery. This visit allows your surgeon to check your incision, assess your recovery, and adjust your pain management and rehabilitation plan as needed.


Treatment Plan

Recovery from shoulder replacement surgery is a gradual process. Your treatment plan will include physical therapy to strengthen your shoulder and improve range of motion. It’s crucial to adhere to your physiotherapy schedule and follow all recommendations to ensure the best possible outcome.

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