Preparing for your reverse total shoulder replacement


Will you need a shoulder replacement in the future? Certain patients cannot have traditional  shoulder replacement surgery, so they must undergo a newer arthroplasty called a reverse total shoulder replacement. These two shoulder replacement surgeries are very similar, but the designs of the replacement shoulders are not the same. Typically, a patient must receive this type of shoulder replacement due to a torn or otherwise damaged rotator cuff, due to arthritic factors, and/or because of other injuries to the shoulder joint, such as fractures.


Before your surgery, there are a number of things you’ll want to discuss with your doctor. Firstly, your surgeon should explain the procedure to you, including any and all risks involved; he or she will also discuss your medical history to determine any additional risks. Your doctor should also explain the discharge process and how to prepare your home environment for your postsurgical recovery. Your surgeon will also probably conduct a series of tests, such as a blood test, urinalysis, chest x-ray, and EKG.

Avoid Blood Thinners

You should do your best to avoid blood thinning foods and medications prior to your reverse total replacement surgery. This means that you need to stop taking aspirin, warfarin, ibuprofen, and other anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant medications. You should also do your best to stop eating food that will cause your blood to thin, such as garlic, spinach, ginger, mangoes, tomatoes, almonds, broccoli, and others. Alert your surgeon if you are taking any medications on a daily basis, and let him or her decide if you need to stop taking them.

Alert Your Surgeon

You’ll need to alert your surgeon or the office’s staff immediately if you develop an illness or if there is some other change to your physical condition. For example, if you get a cold days before your surgery is supposed to take place, be sure to tell your doctor. Other conditions that you should tell your surgeon about include running a fever, suffering from the flu or diarrhea, or the appearance of a skin rash just to name a few.

What To Bring

It’s likely that you’ll spend at least one night in the hospital, so you should pack a bag with your personal hygiene products and other toiletries. You’ll also want to make sure to bring a photo ID and your insurance card. Leave all valuables at home, such as jewelry, cash, credit cards, etc. You’ll also want to bring your protective cases and other necessities for your eyeglasses, contact lenses, dentures, hearing aids, and other personal items.


Still have questions about how to prepare for your reverse total shoulder replacement surgery? Don’t worry. If you decide to have this surgery with Dr. Kovak, our talented and knowledgeable orthopedic surgeon, he’ll go over everything you need to know. Not sure if this type of arthroplasty is for you? Give us a call. Otherwise, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kovak today.

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