UR Medicine offers the widest range of treatment options in Upstate New York. In many cases, we can treat your shoulder pain with medication, physical therapy, or injection therapies. In other cases, surgery may be required.

UR Medicine surgeons are all fellowship trained and perform more shoulder surgeries than those at any other joint center in the region. This is important because studies have shown that advanced education and the experience that comes with performing more surgeries lead to better patient outcomes. If shoulder pain is interfering with your everyday life, call (585) 275-5321 for a consultation with one of our joint surgeons.

Shoulder pain can make everyday activities uncomfortable and keep you from doing the things you love. When shoulder muscles and ligaments are torn or stretched beyond their normal limits, you may have shoulder instability and dislocation or one of a number of conditions, including shoulder separation or sprain, shoulder tendinosis, impingement syndrome, bursitisfrozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)rotator cuff injury or osteoarthritis.

We have the widest range of treatment options in Upstate New York and will help you choose the treatment plan that is right for you. In many cases, shoulder pain can be treated with pain medication, physical therapy, or injection therapies. Others require shoulder surgery. We specialize in:

  • Total Shoulder Replacement. This surgery involves removing the ball and socket of the joint and replacing it with implants, restoring normal function.
  • Reverse Shoulder Arthroplasty. This procedure completely reverses the structure of the shoulder, so you can raise your arm again using a different muscle. 
  • Shoulder Resurfacing Arthroplasty. This involves only minimal moving and cutting. This may be an alternative option for qualified younger patients who want to resume athletic activities after surgery.
  • Shoulder Arthroscopy. In this minimally invasive procedure, the surgeon makes small portal incisions and inserts a tiny camera and instruments to find the problem and remove debris or make repairs.



We break down your journey into manageable steps, which we cover in detail in the surgeon’s office and highlight below:

Your surgeon’s office will provide you with a packet of information and necessary forms to complete. This will include instructions to prepare for your surgery, information about anesthesia and your Presurgical Screening Appointment, as well as your surgical pre-admission form that you will bring to your Presurgical Screening Appointment.

Our scheduler will call you to arrange a Presurgical Screening Appointment, which you will attend approximately 3-4 weeks before your surgery.

The appointment will take about 3 hours, and will include: blood work, urine sample, EKG, X-rays (if requested by your surgeon), health history screening, presurgical education, and MyChart signup.

Bring the following with you to your Presurgical Screening Appointment:

  • Your surgeon’s name, date of surgery, and type of surgery
  • Medication names, dosages, how often and time(s) of day you take them; this includes vitamins and over-the-counter medications
  • Insurance cards, photo ID, health care proxy or living will (if you have one); if you do not have a health care proxy form, we can provide one
  • Your surgical pre-admission form received from your surgeon’s office


Presurgical Screening is located on the main level (Floor 2) of the hospital. Enter the hospital through the main lobby and check in at the information desk.

During a presurgical physical therapy session, you will learn essential skills to help during the early phases of your recovery. This visit will help you to learn about managing your sling, changing your clothes, as well as caring for your personal hygiene needs during your recovery. Please call (585) 341-9200 or (585) 341-9000 to schedule your presurgical therapy session.

Weeks before your surgery, get your home ready!

Most patients having a shoulder replacement will go home the day after their surgery, making it very important to have a strong support system; someone to take you home and then stay to help for a few days. You will not be allowed to drive yourself home after surgery, so please make sure there will be someone available to drive you home.

Other home preparations:

  • Determine where you will sleep. As most patients find it is most comfortable to sleep in a reclined position after surgery, having access to a recliner or a wedge to use in bed is helpful.
  • Remove throw rugs, electrical cords, and any other obstructions from walkways
  • Install nightlights in hallways and bathrooms
  • Catch up on laundry and housekeeping and prepare meals that can be easily reheated
  • Make arrangements for your pets for 2 weeks after surgery

To speed your recovery, it is important to be familiar with the exercises you will do after surgery. We recommend that you perform each exercise 3-5 times per day for 10-20 repetitions, if able to do so pain-free. If you are in too much pain, simply familiarize yourself with the exercises.

Wrist Flexion/Extension Exercise
While in your sling, slowly bend your wrist back and forth as far as you are able. Use your other hand to assist and apply a gentle stretch. Hold for 5 seconds at each position.

Ball/Towel Squeeze Exercise
Squeeze a ball or rolled up towel and hold for 3 seconds.

Elbow Extension Exercise(You may not take your sling off for 24 hours after surgery. Do not perform this exercise until then.)
Carefully take arm out of sling, keep arm at your side. With the help of your non-surgical hand, gently bend and straighten your elbow through a comfortable range. Hold for 5 seconds at each position.

Standing Arm Hang Passive Flexion Stretch
Slowly bend forward at the waist to allow your arm to hang towards the floor. (This is also the position that should be used to put on a shirt as well as wash your underarm or apply deodorant.)

You’ll receive compassionate care in the comfort of a community hospital, backed by the leading-edge technology and research at UR Medicine. Our entire team is focused on your success, made easier by our dedicated state-of-the-art orthopaedic operating rooms, joint surgery recovery unit, and rehabilitation gym.

All UR Medicine joint replacement surgeries are performed in Highland’s dedicated, state-of-the-art orthopaedic operating rooms at the Evarts Joint Center.

After surgery, you will go to your room in the Evarts Joint Center, again dedicated to our Orthopaedic patients.

Your companions can track your progress and will be notified when you have arrived in your room.

While in the hospital, your nurses will be your primary point of contact and will start you on your road to recovery with understanding, compassion, and a steady drive to get you back to a life in motion.

A social worker will work with you to discuss your discharge, and your nurse will review your discharge instructions with you.

Some patients need more care and a skilled nursing facility (a nursing home that provides rehab services) may be recommended. Your insurance plan will dictate whether a skilled nursing facility is an option for you. You should discuss your coverage with your insurance provider.

You Make the Difference! You will play a huge role in the success of your surgery and your recovery. It’s important that you be proactive and participate in your physical therapy program. The more committed and enthusiastic you are, the quicker your improvement will be.

During your first few weeks at home, you will adapt what you’ve learned at the hospital to your own setting. A few key reminders for when you first return home:

  • You will be required to wear your sling at all times with the exception of showering, changing clothing, or working on rehab exercises.
  • You must protect yourself from falling and keep your new joint in safe positions while you heal.
  • You should plan for someone to stay with you for several days when you first go home.
  • You should not drive until your doctor or physical therapist says it is okay to do so. Usually you may begin driving once you are no longer required to wear the sling and are no longer taking narcotic pain medication.

It is normal to experience discomfort when doing your exercises and you may need to take pain medication prior to doing your physical therapy exercises. It is important that you perform your assigned exercises exactly as instructed by your physical therapist and with the appropriate number of repetitions.

Here the are answers to questions we have heard most often about shoulder surgery. Please feel free to contact us to get your specific questions answered.

Your time in surgery is about 2-3 hours, but the actual elapsed time from operating room to the post- anesthesia care unit (PACU), where you will recover from anesthesia, is usually about 3-4 hours.

The vast majority of our patients will go directly home the day after surgery.

The sling helps prevent damage to your shoulder from the stretching of the muscles or tendons. How long you need to wear the sling depends on your specific type of surgery and how well your body is healing.

Typically the modern replacement joints we use will last at least 15-20 years. Many factors influence the joint’s life, including your activity level and overall l health.

To review a longer list of questions and answers about your surgery and your Highland experience, visit our Frequently Asked Questions Page.