Shoulder Arthroscopy

Wound Care
  1. Maintain your postoperative dressing. Some hand swelling may occur.
  2. Remove your surgical dressing on the second post-op day. A small amount of drainage on the dressing is to be expected. Cover the wounds with Band-Aids.
  3. Keep incisions dry (to avoid infection) until your sutures are removed when you see your doctor. You may shower on post operative day 3 if you are able to keep the incisions clean and dry (using plastic wrap/plastic bag). Otherwise, use a wash cloth to clean up until your first post-operative visit.
  4. The sling is for comfort, remove it whenever you like. Most patients are out of their sling within a few days of surgery. The more motion you achieve early, the more quickly you will recover.
  5. Ice should be applied to the shoulder for 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off each hour while awake for the first 48 - 72 hours after surgery. If you have a Game Ready icing device, you may keep this on throughout the day and use as tolerated.
  1. Begin with liquids and light foods such as Jell-O and soups.
  2. Advance as tolerated to your regular diet, if not nauseated.
  1. Do not lift more than 5 pounds with the shoulder that you had surgery on for the first few days.
  2. There is nothing in your shoulder that you can permanently injure by using your arm. The sooner your shoulder function returns to normal the quicker you will recover.
  3. Work on gentle range of motion exercises:
    • Flex your fingers into your palm and out (making a fist)
    • Gently straighten and bend your elbow as tolerated
    • Slide the palm of your hand up a smooth wall. Stop when you feel pain and hold for 20 seconds. Repeat 4-5 times.
    • Shoulder Pendulum Exercises: Slightly bend forward at the waist, with your arm hanging from your side make easy circles, then bigger circles
    • Isometric Exercises: Push your shoulder out against resistance (wall), then push it in against your body.
  4. Do not engage in activities that increase your pain.
  5. Return to work depends on your type of employment.
  1. Use medication as directed (per the bottle). No pain medication is capable of taking away all the pain; taking your pills at regular intervals will give you the best chance of having less pain.
  2. Do not combine with alcoholic beverages.
  3. Do not drive while using pain medications.
  4. Nausea, vomiting and dizziness may present while using pain medications. If these symptoms persist, call Julia at the Aspen clinic (414-328-8602) and we can change the medication.
  5. Take your pain medication about one hour before you go to bed. In some cases, it is more comfortable to sleep in a recliner or on a couch the first few days after surgery.
  6. You may switch to over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or ibuprofen, as you become more comfortable.
When to call your surgeon
  1. Pain that is increasing every hour in spite of taking pain medication.
  2. Drainage from the wound more than 2 days after surgery.
  3. Increasing redness around the shoulder.
  4. Pain or swelling in your arm.
  5. Severe pain with fever greater than 101 F (~38.3 C).
  6. Unable to keep food or water down for more than one day.
  7. With chest pain or shortness of breath, call 911.
Follow-up Care
  1. You should have an appointment with your doctor 5-7 days after your surgery. Call our office at 414-328-8600 to make this appointment.
  2. Physical therapy will be arranged at your follow-up appointment.