My local orthopod surgeon says that the arm that gets the reverse procedure would, post-op, be limited to 20-25lbs lifting---not just in rehab, but forever. Have any of you been able to demonstrate
that this is not necessarily true?
Some surgeons do adopt the 25 pound lifting rule forever at or below shoulder height for their patients. Others are a bit more lenient. My research into this indicates there is not a lot of detailed guidance out there for patients. I'm not aware of any studies, but need to look into it further.
With a reverse shoulder replacement you will likely have some limited range of motion moving your arm above shoulder height. The reason is that your body must use different muscles with this type of implant than you use with a regular shoulder replacement and that can limit the range of movement. Some more athletic patients with well-developed deltoid muscles may be able to gain a bit more range of motion than us "regular" folks.
There is an increased risk of dislocation during the recovery process (up to a year or more) as your muscles gain strength and learn to perform shoulder motions for you. So it is critical for you to be very careful during this time. After a year or so, it may be that you can continue to work on strengthening and slowly increase weights you lift safely. Everyone's body is different and what one person may be able to do, another might not.
What exactly is it that you are hoping to do following your complete recovery? It may be better to approach your question that way rather than talk about specific weights and lifting.
It is my feeling that shoulder replacements are where knee and hip replacements were a decade or so ago. The implants are relatively new in design. The number of replacements being done is definitely on the rise but so far there just isn't the clinical research available to know for sure what is possible. Time will give us more information about what is possible. In the meantime, surgeons rightfully will tend to err on the side of caution when advising patients about post-op activity.
I will be very interested to see how you do with your reverse replacement and to know more about your lifestyle. So far here on BoneSmart, we've primarily had regular shoulder replacements like mine. I'm glad you are able to talk about a reverse replacement recovery.
As a frame of reference, with my regular shoulder replacement, my surgeon told me it would be a full year before I recovered completely. He was correct. I quickly had my full range of motion back with my arm. Using my pulley, I was able to get my arm completely over my head at about 3 months. Strength has been a whole 'nother issue. I was in therapy for 3 months following surgery just to get muscles back to working properly. Years with a bad shoulder had caused some muscles to atrophy and others to compensate and take over the work. All that had to be undone and it was work at times. Once that was done, I have begun to work on strength. I always had good strength lifting things to waist height. But above that level.....I'm still working on it. My surgery was then end of February and I just now am able to put a couple of plates on the cabinet shelf at shoulder height. I still cannot raise my arm unassisted all the way above my head. I'm working on that with my pulley and other exercises. But my surgeon and I are both pleased with the result and I think you will be happy with your new shoulder as well.