Everyone has a different experience going into elective surgery.
Elective surgery is a choice, usually made to decrease pain and increase function and hopefully improve quality of life. It is a privilege to be able to make the decision to have elective surgery, to have the medical insurance and the other support necessary to choose surgery and all that follows. Having watched my husband go through seven operations and countless other medical procedures in 3 years to delay cancer and keep him alive clarified this for me. So going into my first shoulder replacement surgery my biggest challenge was not being overcome with sadness that my husband was not there with me, and my sons would have to watch their mom be dependent so soon after their Dad died.
It was very emotional for me. All of the practical aspects of the surgery were in place: I had absolute faith in my surgeon and the entire team, the pre-surgery education was excellent, care and follow-up were all clear, rides arranged etc. When speaking with the surgeon, Dr. Thomas Duquin, prior to surgery I reminded him that my son, who he would speak with while I was in recovery, had just lost his Dad. The surgeon has two sons, a toddler and a newborn at the time, and he was so professional and human in his support.
The last thing I remember is being wheeled into the surgical room, which was cold and then waking up in recovery. It was done, and I was so relieved and happy to be in a hospital room with my sons.
WARNING: This video contains actual footage of the surgery and may not be suitable for all audiences.
My right shoulder and arm, except for the surgical site, are wrapped and visible, the rest of my body is covered in sterile draping so you are not able to see me. The surgeon marks my arm where he will make the incision and he uses a scalpel to make about a 5-inch incision. The first surgical assistant and the surgeon use retractors and another tool to open the surgical site. Their movements are precise and the surgical assistant wipes away the small amount of blood.
Next, the head of the humerus bone is exposed and the surgeon and assistant use a saw and other tools to remove the arthritic head of the humerus bone. The subscapularis tendon has been tagged and one clamp attached to it is hanging down.
The next section is the preparation and insertion of the new glenoid fossa with what looks like white epoxy. More hammering!
The surgical area is cleaned out again and measured to prepare for insertion of a temporary humeral head. The arm is tested for passive movement to make sure everything moves well. Movement with the temporary piece works well so the temporary piece is removed and the surgeon inserts the new titanium piece using a hammer and other tools. Multiple clamps are shown hanging down tagging the subscapularis tendon and the shoulder capsule.
Finally, multiple layers of stitches close the surgical site and then external strips and glue to secure everything. Done!