Shoulder Replacement Surgery: Avoid Complications

Avoiding Complications

Preventing Blood Clots
Follow your orthopedic surgeon's instructions carefully to minimize the potential of blood clots that can occur during the first several weeks of your recovery.

Warning signs of possible blood clots in your shoulder include:  

  • Increasing pain in your arm
  • Tenderness
  • Increasing swelling in your shoulder or arm

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately.

Warning signs that a blood clot has traveled to your lung include:  

  • Sudden increased shortness of breath
  • Sudden onset of chest pain
  • Localized chest pain with coughing

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately.

Preventing Infection
The most common causes of infection following total shoulder replacement surgery are from bacteria that enter the bloodstream during dental procedures, urinary tract infections, or skin infections. These bacteria can lodge around your shoulder replacement surgical site and cause infection.

For the first two years after your shoulder replacement, you must take preventive antibiotics before dental or surgical procedures that could allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream. After two years, talk to your orthopedist and your dentist or urologist to see if you still need preventive antibiotics before any scheduled procedures.

Warning signs of a possible shoulder replacement infection are: 

  • Persistent fever (higher than 100 degrees)
  • Chills
  • Increasing redness, tenderness or swelling of the wound
  • Drainage from the wound
  • Increasing pain with both activity and rest

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call your CJRI surgeon.

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