Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

I'm planning to have a shoulder joint replacement for an old rotator cuff tear that never healed. The doctor told me the average hospital stay is 2 days. Why is that? I thought most surgeries are done on an outpatient basis.

Answer:

Just five or 10 years ago, surgery was followed by a hospital stay. This would be several days to a week or more, depending on the type of operation done. Today, many operations are completed and the patient sent home on the same day or within 23 hours. Costs are reduced when an overnight stay is avoided. Some operations are more invasive and more technical and require closer supervision. Patients are recovering from anesthesia and pain management is an issue. They aren't considered 'safe' to go home on their own or with family help. In some cases, the risk of postoperative complications requires a longer hospital stay. A shoulder joint replacement is major surgery. Physical therapy on the first day is needed. Most patients require help getting back to daily activities. Some patients go home more quickly than others. Those with complications such as fever, blood clots, or wound infection may have to stay longer. Ioannis K. Sarris, MD, PhD, et al. Bipolar Hemiarthroplasty for Chronic Rotator Cuff Tear Arthropathy. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. March 2002. Vol. 18. No. 2. Pp. 169-173.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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