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How long does it take to recover from shoulder surgery fully?

Shoulder joints are complex joints that are capable of a large range of motion compared to other joints in your body. The shoulder is composed of several bones like the Clavicle, Humerus, Scapula attached to ligaments, tendons and other muscles.

Besides bones, other components such as ball and socket, shoulder capsule, rotator cuff, bursa are responsible for shoulder function and movement.

However, it is also more prone to damage caused by an accident or overuse injuries. Many shoulder injuries are minor, so they do not require surgery and can be treated non-surgically. But in case of severe damage to shoulder parts like a major rotator cuff tear, fracture or suffering from osteoarthritis, it will usually require surgical treatment. 

The treatment procedure can be a minimally invasive or open surgery depending on the problems. The recovery after a shoulder surgery also depends on various factors like the type of surgical intervention, overall health etc., which may last for a few weeks to several months. There is no doubt that recovery times vary between patients and it may vary based on the complexity of the issue.

Here are a few shoulder surgical procedures and their recovery time:

Arthroscopy for frozen shoulder and recovery

Frozen shoulder is also known as adhesive capsulitis. As a result of this condition, your shoulder becomes stiff and painful, and you may have difficulty moving it. Frozen shoulder is more common in people between 40 and 60 years of age, and women are more likely to develop it.

Not all frozen shoulder cases require surgery. But severe frozen shoulder cases are typically surgically treated. In addition, physical therapy is required to maintain the range of motion gained through surgery. Typically, it takes around 6 weeks to 3 months to recover from frozen shoulder surgery. Even though the process is slow, your commitment to the therapy makes all the difference in your ability to get back to the activities you love.

Rotator cuff repair and recovery 

The surgical repair of the rotator cuff tears is among the most commonly performed shoulder surgeries today. The purpose of this procedure is to locate the injured part of your rotator cuff, clean the torn or injured tendons, and then reattach them. To repair rotator cuff tears, two different surgical approaches are available, arthroscopic and open approaches. 

Recovery times for rotator cuff surgery vary from patient to patient depending on various factors. Still, in general, a complete recovery timeline for rotator cuff surgery is four to six months. You may need to wait even more time to begin activities like heavy lifting. With your physical therapist’s help, you will regain mobility and strength in your shoulder region during the healing process.

Shoulder replacement

The procedure involves removing the damaged shoulder parts with highly polished prosthetics (artificial parts). This is one of the most beneficial and successful procedures for arthritis, severe trauma, complete rotator cuff tears etc.

Most of the time, recovery from shoulder replacement surgery takes from three to six months for the shoulder to heal. Usually, it takes up to a year to regain full strength and range of motion after shoulder replacement.

Shoulder Fracture

A shoulder fracture might happen due to motor vehicle accidents, falls etc. A severe fracture might need to be repaired surgically. These injuries are collarbone fractures, broken humerus, and dislocated shoulders.

The recovery process for a minor shoulder fracture might take around six weeks. But in the case of a severe shoulder fracture, recovery is long and takes three to twelve months, which mainly depends on the severity of the injury and the treatment.

Acromioclavicular joint surgery for arthritis

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is the common meeting point of the collarbone and the shoulder bone. Often, it is referred to as AC joint since the end of the shoulder blade comes in contact with the collarbone, which is called the acromion. The AC joint conditions include fractures, separations, and arthritis.

If non-surgical treatment options don’t work, Dr Chandra Sekhar, a renowned shoulder surgeon in Hyderabad, may recommend undergoing surgical intervention to trim the collarbone end. Then, he uses an arthroscope to repair the joint through multiple small incisions.

Most patients are discharged on the same day following surgery with a sling. However, a complete recovery varies widely from patient to patient, with most patients returning to normal activities within three months.

If you are suffering from any shoulder problem, whether a minor or a major one, call +91 99595 88389 to consult Dr Chandra Sekhar, an orthopaedic shoulder specialist who has more than 15 years of experience in treating various types of shoulder problems.

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