Arthritis of the Shoulder
Resources & Support
At UCSF Health, we are renowned for our highly specialized and cutting-edge medical care. Along with innovative medicine, we strive to provide a variety of services to ensure that patients and families are fully supported while in our care. UCSF has a team of experienced social workers and condition-specific support groups as well as classes to help patients and families navigate their experiences while in our clinics and hospitals.
Our support services also include unique programs to help heal the mind and spirit, such as Art for Recovery, Healing Through Dance and complimentary spa treatments during infusion therapy. During an unfamiliar and stressful time, UCSF's support services are ready to lend a hand whenever patients and families need it most.
Frequently Asked Questions
- When can I drive after surgery?
For the first six weeks, you'll be in a sling and unable to drive. You can get behind the wheel once you're out of the sling and have appropriate control to drive safely.
- When can I return to my usual activities?
Generally, people are able to resume most activities by about six months after surgery.
- What are the differences between anatomic and reverse shoulder replacements?
Both implants are great at relieving pain, which is the main reason patients should consider having a shoulder replacement. To have an anatomic shoulder replacement, your rotator cuff needs to be functioning normally. If your rotator cuff isn't working, the reverse shoulder replacement is a great option. After a reverse replacement, patients may have less ability to rotate the shoulder but can still expect to reach overhead.
- How long do shoulder replacements last?
Shoulder replacement joints are made from metal and plastic. Like other mechanical parts, they wear out over time. We expect that 90 percent of shoulder replacements will last at least 10 to 15 years.
- What other complications should I be aware of?
Complications after shoulder replacement include general surgical risks, such as infection, bleeding and nerve injury. The rate of infection is approximately 1 percent, but when it happens, the patient needs more surgery and a prolonged post-op treatment to clear the infection, so we do everything we can to prevent this possibility. Bleeding is unusual, and needing a blood transfusion during or after surgery is unlikely. Nerve injury is also unlikely and, when it happens, usually resolves on its own.
There is a chance the replaced shoulder could dislocate, especially shortly after surgery if the patient falls or isn't using the shoulder sling. And, as noted previously, the implant can wear out over time. Occasionally, some patients have weakness, stiffness or persistent pain. Before deciding to undergo shoulder replacement, it's important to talk to your surgeon about any specific risks you may have based on your general health and shoulder condition.
Support services at UCSF Health
Case Management and Social Work
Connect with a team that can help you find resources, solve problems and advocate for you during treatment at UCSF.
Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Class
This eight-week UCSF class teaches mindfulness practices, such as meditation and body awareness, that can reduce stress and improve your overall health.
We welcome feedback about your experience at UCSF Health. Find out how to contact us with comments, questions or concerns.
Spiritual Care Services
Chaplains representing many faiths are available around the clock to provide support, comfort and counsel to patients, families and caregivers. Learn more.