You’ll be taken to the operating theatre and made comfortable.

Your anaesthetist will insert a cannula into a vein to administer anaesthetic, fluid and other drugs. You may also have a urinary catheter inserted. Depending on the type of surgery, you’ll most likely be supported in a seated ‘deck chair’ position.

The surgery is done through an incision on the front or top of your shoulder. The surgeon cuts through the skin before isolating the nerves and blood vessels and moving them aside. The muscles are also moved aside.

Your surgeon then cuts into the joint capsule to view the joint.

To prepare the bones for the replacement parts, your surgeon removes the ball portion of the humeral head. A space is prepared inside your upper humerus to fit the stem of the prosthesis (if you’re having a stemmed prosthesis).

Next, your surgeon prepares the glenoid by removing any remaining cartilage. Your surgeon drills holes into your shoulder bone to anchor the glenoid component.

Finally your surgeon inserts the components and attaches the humeral ball.

For the reverse procedure, the ball is attached to the glenoid and the socket is attached to the top of your humerus.

Once the joint is assembled, your surgeon tests it to make sure everything fits and is properly aligned. When your surgeon is happy with this, the muscles are put back in place and the incision is closed using staples or stiches.

Your incision will be covered with a bandage, and your arm will be supported in a sling.

Your surgery will take about 2 hours, depending on how complex it is.

After your procedure

Your hospital stay.


Information is provided by HCF in good faith for the convenience of members. It is not an endorsement or recommendation of any form of treatment nor is it a substitute for medical advice, and you should rely on the advice of your treating doctors in relation to all matters concerning your health. Every effort has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, however HCF takes no responsibility for any injury, loss, damage or other consequences of the use of this information.