Before you are dismissed from the hospital, your physical therapist
will show you how to perform the rehabilitation exercises that are
important for your recovery.
You'll be discharged as soon as your surgeon determines that you
have recovered sufficiently. You can expect to stay in the hospital
for about three days after your surgery. Your bandages and sutures
will usually be removed before you leave.
At home, you'll need to continue your exercises. Your physical
therapist will instruct you about proper home care and may continue to
work with you. Your shoulder area may be warm and tender for several
weeks. It is important to remember that while you are recovering, you
should not lift anything with the operative arm. Please consult with
your orthopaedic surgeon before you begin lifting anything.
It is very important that you follow your surgeon's instructions.
Any questions should always be discussed with your surgeon before your
hospital discharge. In general:
- Do not use your surgery arm when getting out of bed or up from
a chair. Use the opposite arm.
- You may be advised not to
pull anything to you, such as pulling up pants and opening doors,
for six weeks after surgery.
- Your doctor will likely give
you a list of exercises to do once you're home. Be certain to follow
your doctor's instructions, but typically you may be asked to do
these exercises four or five times a day for a month or so.
- Be certain not to exceed the range of motion restrictions given
by your surgeon.
- Be careful to avoid falls.
may experience less pain after surgery, which may make you believe
you can do more. Be certain to follow your doctor's instructions so
that you don't overdo it.
- The amount of weight you can lift
using your surgery arm will be limited. Your doctor may recommend
that you don't lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee for the
first four to six weeks. Be sure to consult with your orthopaedic
surgeon before you begin any lifting.
- Sling use will vary
depending upon the situation, but your doctor may request that you
wear the sling every night for at least the first month.
- You will likely need to avoid contact sports after surgery. Your
doctor will discuss these restrictions with you.
that you will probably tire more easily than usual. You may want to
plan a rest period of 30 to 60 minutes mid-morning and
- Avoid many household chores, such as raking,
sweeping, mopping, and running the vacuum cleaner using your surgery
arm. Use long-handled feather dusters for dusting high and low
items. Your doctor will tell you when it is okay to do these
- Constipation is a common problem for patients
following surgery. This is usually due to your limited activity and
any pain medications you may be taking. Discuss your diet with your
doctor. It may include fresh fruits and vegetables as well as eight
full glasses of liquid each day, unless your doctor tells you
- Your doctor will probably give you a prescription
for pain pills. Please follow your doctor’s instructions concerning
- Some swelling around the incision is
normal. You will find it more comfortable to wear loose clothing to
avoid pressure on the incision. Ask your doctor or other qualified
health professional about appropriate wound care.
- You may
want to place a pillow behind your elbow when seated or lying down
to keep the surgery area forward to help decrease pain.
- Your doctor may recommend that you apply ice to your shoulder to
help decrease pain. A one kilo bag of frozen peas or other small
vegetables works surprisingly well as an ice pack.