Preparing for My Shoulder Replacement

In preparation for your shoulder replacement surgery, you’ve probably been advised by your surgeon to take certain precautions. That may have included getting a physical examination by your primary care doctor to make sure you don’t have any other health problems, like diabetes or high blood pressure.

Your doctor may have also suggested you start exercising to lose weight, if you are above a healthy weight for surgery. Or, if you were a smoker, perhaps you were compelled to quit because smoking can increase your surgical risks and slow down the healing process.

In some cases, dental work should be completed to prevent germs in your mouth from entering your bloodstream, and subsequently infecting your joint. This isn’t a common occurrence, but this reinforces the idea of closing one door before you open another.

There are just many things that should be taken into consideration before you undergo shoulder replacement surgery. Here’s a chronological checklist of things you should do leading up to the procedure.

Four weeks before surgery:

  • Make a list of questions for your surgeon. Take notes as your doctor provides you with instructions and refer to them after your meeting. A good doctor loves an educated patient, so ask away with any questions or concerns before going through with a serious procedure.

Three weeks before surgery:

  • Make arrangements with family and/or friends. You’ll need their support after your surgery with things like bathing, dressing, laundry, preparing meals, housekeeping, shopping, and visiting your doctor. If you don’t have anyone to help you with housework, ask your doctor for the names and phone numbers of home caregivers.
  • Stock up on food and other items you’ll need during your recovery. This includes canned goods and cleaning supplies. Store them in easy-to-access cabinets on lower shelves so you don’t have to reach and pull. You should also prepare and freeze meals that can be defrosted and cooked with little effort. Plan on a week or more of meals.
  • Take home safety precautions. Tuck electrical cords against the wall, remove any throw rugs, and place a non-skid mat in your bathtub. The last thing you’ll need after surgery is to risk a slip, trip or fall.

Two weeks before surgery:

  • Stop taking anti-inflammatory and certain other medications. These increase your risk of bleeding excessively after surgery. Other medications, like anti-coagulants (blood thinners) can be especially tricky with surgery, so you should inform your doctor about any such prescription.
  • Buy any special equipment your surgeon recommends. These may include a sling or helpful devices such as a grabber.

One week before surgery:

  • Make a list of the medications you take, the dosage and frequency. This will come in handy when you preadmit at the hospital.
  • You may be required to preregister at the hospital.  Preparations such as insurance verification, lab work, X-rays, or an EKG may be necessary. Check with your doctor on what needs to be done.
  • Get your finances in order. Pay bills, balance your check book, stop mail or newspaper delivery, or make arrangements for your pets. You won’t have the time to deal with these things while you’re in hospital or when recovering at home.

 The week of surgery:

  • Pack for your hospital stay. You’ll want to leave your personal belongings (jewelry, credit cards, car and house keys, etc.) with family members until after the surgery. But you may want to bring certain necessities with you, such as: personal grooming items; eyeglasses/contacts; a pair of slippers; loose fitting clothing for your return home.

The day before surgery:

  • Don't eat or drink anything after midnight. Unless, of course, your anesthesiologist prescribes medication that needs to be taken the evening before surgery.

If you’re having shoulder pain, the orthopedic physicians at OrthoUnited in North Canton, Ohio can help diagnose your injury and provide answers to any questions you may have about shoulder replacement surgery. OrthoUnited offers experienced providers and the latest in diagnostic techniques to ensure prompt care. Call (844) 469-2663 for an appointment today.