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Shoulder Replacement

A shoulder replacement is the most common and successful operation for arthritis. Similar to hip and knee replacements, it involves removing the arthritic joint surfaces and replacing them with an implant.

Why you might need a shoulder replacement

Shoulders can suffer from several types of arthritis, such as inflammatory arthritis, osteoarthritis, and cuff tear arthritis. The type of arthritis you have will determine the type of replacement you have.
Shoulder replacement is a very effective operation, with a long track record of success, although, like all major surgery, there are risks such as infection, fracture and dislocation. Your surgeon will discuss the type of replacement and associated risks with you, to help you decide the next steps to take.

What does surgery involve?

When you have a shoulder replacement, a small cut will be made at the front of your shoulder. You’ll normally be under general anaesthetic  and the operation takes about 2 hours. You’ll usually need to stay in hospital for 2 to 3 nights following the operation.

Shoulder replacement recovery

You’ll start with gentle physio immediately after surgery and you’ll need to wear a sling for roughly 4 – 6 weeks, during which time you won’t be able to drive. You’ll usually have some stitches that will need to removed 10 days after the operation. Physiotherapy is extremely beneficial in the recovery period (6-8 weeks), but it can take up to six months to notice the full effects of the replacement. Regular follow-up appointments will be arranged with your surgeon so they can check on your progress, make sure you’re ok and that everything is going to plan.


Book a consultation

Paying for yourself?
If you’re paying for your own treatment, you don’t need a referral from your GP for a consultation. Simply refer yourself* and book an appointment by calling our team on 020 7806 4004 or emailing us at shoulderunit@hje.org.uk.

Using health insurance?
If you have health insurance (e.g. Bupa, Axa, Aviva), contact your insurer to get authorisation before any treatment. In most cases, you will also need to get a referral letter from your GP. If you’re not registered with a GP, you can use our in-house private GP practice.

*Please note – for tests and scans such as X-rays, MRIs and blood tests, a referral will be needed. However, we may be able to arrange this for you through our on-site private GP.

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