Returning to Work After Shoulder Arthroplasty

returning to work after shoulder surgeryThe number of total shoulder arthroplasties carried out on patients under the age of 55 has seen a significant increase in recent years. As the number of younger patients seeking shoulder surgery continues to increase, returning to work understandably becomes a serious concern.

A recent study has reviewed the prognosis for younger patients to return to work after undergoing shoulder surgery. Here, we will look at the results of the study and how shoulder surgery can affect your return to work.

Majority of patients under age 55 return to work

The study was carried out to determine the ability of patients aged 55 and under, to return to work after anatomic total shoulder surgery. The researchers looked into the intensity of work carried out, the time taken out of work and when the patients returned.

It was revealed that 92% of patients were able to return to work within 2.1 months after the surgery. All of the patients who had a sedentary, light or moderate intensity job returned to work. For those who had a heavy intensity job, 64% were able to return. Most patients – 92% in all – claimed they were either satisfied or very satisfied with their results.

Although this is just one study, it does appear to highlight the prognosis for younger patients to return to work after shoulder surgery is excellent.

Tips to ensure a successful return back to work

Although the study showed the majority of younger patients typically return to work within 2.1 months, there are things you can do to ensure optimal recovery. Patients who smoke, for example, are advised to quit prior to the surgery as tobacco use has been linked to a longer, more painful recovery.

In regard to when you should return to work, you will need to follow your surgeon’s advice. The complexity of the shoulder joint means that it is under pressure even in sedentary jobs where you perform repetitive actions. Therefore, you will need to be realistic about what you can achieve.

You should never attempt to return to work before your shoulder surgeon advises. This is because although some types of shoulder surgery enable you to go back to work within a week, total shoulder arthroplasty is a more complex surgery. The shoulder will need approximately six to eight weeks to recover. If you attempt to go back to work too early, you could end up reinjuring the shoulder and further surgery could be required.

Compared to rotator cuff surgery, where patients could end up out of work for a much longer time period, the 2.1-month prognosis for younger patients after shoulder arthroplasty is relatively quick. As with all types of shoulder injuries, the earlier it is treated, the more successful surgery will be and the less recovery time you will need.

If you have been experiencing shoulder pain, or you think you may need a shoulder arthroplasty, book a consultation today. Putting off the surgery because you’re worried about the potential time off work could result in a worsening of the shoulder condition which could end up requiring you to take even more time off.