From small tasks like reaching into a cabinet to complete loss of motion and functionality, shoulder pain can severely interfere with your everyday activities and hobbies.

Shoulder replacement surgery is a successful procedure for relieving pain and restoring normal functionality. In fact, more than 53,000 people in the U.S. have shoulder replacement surgery each year.

Common Causes of Shoulder Pain

There are a few common reasons why shoulder pain may be present:

  • Arthritis
    • Including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and post-traumatic arthritis
  • Fractures
  • Tendinitis
  • Rotator cuff tear arthropathy
  • Degenerative joint disease

Shoulder Pain Evaluation

If you’re considering shoulder replacement surgery, a visit with an orthopaedic surgeon is your first step. During your visit, the specialist will perform a thorough evaluation to see if your condition could benefit from surgery. Your surgeon will likely request:

  • A physical examination
  • Your full medical history
  • X-rays

Once the surgeon has reviewed your test results and evaluated your condition, they will explain the ideal treatment and/or surgical options with you.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery Options

When nonsurgical options like physical therapy and medications don’t work to relieve pain and restore functionality, shoulder replacement surgery may be recommended.

Damaged parts of the shoulder are replaced with prosthetics made from plastic or metal.

Treatment options are either the replacement of the head of the humerus bone (ball) or replacement of both the ball and socket (glenoid).

There are a few different types of shoulder replacement surgeries:

  • Total Shoulder Replacement
    Also known as total shoulder arthroplasty, this is the process of replacing a damaged humeral head (also knows as the joint ball) with a metal ball that is attached to a stem, and installing a new plastic surface on the glenoid (also known as the socket). Total shoulder replacement may not be suitable for those who want to remain highly active or have badly damaged rotator cuff muscles.
  • Partial Shoulder Replacement
    When patients have a damaged humeral head but a normal socket, a partial shoulder replacement — or stemmed hemiarthroplasty — may be recommended. With this procedure, the head of the humerus is replaced with a prosthetic implant but the natural socket is kept intact. This surgery has a smaller incision than a total shoulder replacement and doesn’t remove as much bone.
  • Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement
    For some patients, a total shoulder replacement can still leave them in pain. With a reverse total shoulder replacement, the positions of the shoulder joint’s ball and socket are reversed. This procedure changes the center of rotation in the shoulder joint, which allows other muscles to compensate for the lack of rotator cuff movement.

Shoulder Replacement Recovery

View the following shoulder surgery recovery protocols to learn what to expect after your procedure.


Auburn, NH Ambulatory Surgery Center

45 Dartmouth Dr.
Auburn, New Hampshire 03032

Dover, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

19 Webb Place
Dover, NH 03820

Rochester, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

120 Washington Street Suite 101
Rochester, NH 03839

Portsmouth, NH Orthopaedic Clinic (Walk-In Clinic)

155 Borthwick Avenue, Suite 102
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Raymond, NH Orthopaedic Clinic

6 Freetown Road
Raymond, NH 03077


The number of patients in the U.S. who have shoulder replacement surgery each year.

Relief for Your Pain

Whether you need surgery or just a tailored physical therapy plan, our orthopaedic physicians can help you find relief.

Our staff understands and recognizes the importance of providing current and accurate workers’ compensation information and patient progress reports in a timely manner. Above all, our focus is on the recovery process and getting patients back to work quickly.

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Benjamin Thompson, MD

Knee & Shoulder

Dr. Thompson is an award-winning surgeon, with team physician experience working with the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Lowell Spinners, the Pro Bull Riders Tour and Worcester Polytechnical Institute football team.

Meet Dr. Thompson

Joshua A. Siegel, MD

Knee & Shoulder

Dr. Siegel is an award-winning surgeon with more than 20 years of experience. He is a US Olympic Committee team physician, a US ski team physician and covers USGA and PGA tour events. Locally, he is the team physician for several high schools, including Phillips Exeter Academy.

Meet Dr. Siegel

Shoulder Replacement Surgery – Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to recover from shoulder surgery?

Your recovery will depend on the type of surgery you had, your overall health and your age. Typically, full recovery starts between a few months to a year after surgery. Your physician will be able to give you the most accurate timeframe of when to expect each phase of your recovery to begin.

What is the most common cause of shoulder pain?

Arthritis is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. Tendinitis and degenerative joint disease can also cause discomfort. Regardless of the cause, you should visit your physician to evaluate your shoulder pain and find relief from your symptoms.

What results should I expect after my shoulder replacement surgery?

The goal of all shoulder replacement surgeries is to relieve pain. Many patients also see a decrease in stiffness and an increase in functionality after their surgeries. Recovery and results will be on an individualized basis, so it’s always best to consult with your doctor to understand what you should expect.

Do I need to go to physical therapy after my shoulder surgery?

Your orthopaedic surgeon will likely assign you to a physical therapy program that includes guided exercises and stretches to optimize your results. The length and frequency of your physical therapy program will depend on your condition.