Is Shoulder Replacement Worse Than Rotator Cuff Surgery

Shoulder injuries can be very painful and to fix it, you will need to go through some invasive surgical procedures. Two of the most common injuries are in the shoulder cap or the rotator cuff. For these injuries, replacement surgery and rotator cuff surgery are necessary, respectively. They must be done by a qualified orthopedic surgeon. Here is everything you need to know about these two shoulder surgeries.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery

It Is More Invasive

Shoulder replacement surgery is basically the changing of the damaged and injured parts of your shoulder. It can be some sort of bone, connecting joint or more. It is replaced by prosthetic parts and this is done by creating an incision in your skin and then taking out the damaged parts and replacing them with the prosthetic parts. These parts are medical grade materials.

What’s scary about shoulder replacement surgery is that it is a highly invasive surgery and it is a long surgical procedure. The incision is very big and can be multiple, depending on how damaged your shoulder is.

Post-Surgery Pain

When the surgery is done, your shoulder is secured in a sling. This will keep the new parts in place and you won’t have to worry about the parts moving too much inside the incision. The pain is bearable for some people, but what’s good is that doctors will prescribe you pain medications for some time until the sling is off from your shoulder.

Post-Surgery Activities

Even though shoulder replacement surgery may sound extremely scary, you can immediately start normal life activities with your hand and shoulders right after the sling is off. The sling is usually put on your shoulder for some days up to a week. After this, when you feel like your shoulder is secured and there is no apparent pain when you move your shoulder with the sling, you are free to move your shoulder about. Just make sure that you don’t lift too heavy weights with your new shoulder until you get the green signal from your doctor and radiologist.

Rotator Cuff Surgery

It Is Not As Invasive

Rotator cuff is a very vital part of your shoulder. It keeps the shoulder in place. It is also responsible for moving your shoulder upward and rotating it in any direction. Rotator cuff injuries are caused by falling on your shoulder with a great force or having your shoulder stretched too much to the point where there might be tearing in the rotator cuff.

In order to treat an injured rotator cuff, you will need to go the surgical route. Rotator cuff surgery is not nearly as invasive as a shoulder replacement. The incision is very small and the surgery is done within a couple of hours.

The Healing May Take Time

Even though rotator cuff surgery is very less invasive than a typical shoulder replacement surgery, it still takes a lot more time for the shoulder to get used to moving again. Since the connection is directly made with muscles and soft tissues, you cannot expect to move your shoulders immediately. You will need to give it proper healing time, otherwise the surgery will be rendered useless and you will mess up the healing procedure. Try to be patient, as the rotator cuff can take 1 to 2 months to fully heal.

You Cannot Start Movement As Easily

As mentioned above, rotator cuff surgery healing time is a long waiting game. Given that, you cannot also start movement of the shoulder. You need to keep an eye on the shoulder and the incision, in case you push the shoulder too much and the newly sutured rotator cuff pops out of place. This is a very sensitive place so you need to be careful with how you are moving your arm or shoulder. Try to keep movement and lifting as minimal as possible. You will also feel pain when you move.


There you have it! The type of surgery you get for your shoulder depends on what type of injury you are suffering from. Now you know everything there is to know about replacement surgery and rotator cuff surgery. Discuss your case with shoulder surgeons Woodbridge to decide if you should go for the surgery.

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