Shoulder Post-Operative

Leave your bandage in place for 48 hours. Due to the large amount of fluid used during the arthroscopy, it is normal to see some bloody drainage on the dressings. The dressing should be removed and wounds covered with Band-Aids on the second day after surgery. Incisions should be kept dry for 48 hours.

Showering is allowed after 48 hours once the dressing is removed. Treat the small incisions like normal skin. Allow the shower water to run over the incisions and clean gently with soap and water. The incisions should not be submerged in a bathtub or pool until the sutures are removed.

Do not put any ointment, such as bacitracin on the incions.

Patients are generally more comfortable sleeping in a reclining chair or with pillows propped behind the shoulder. Some difficulty with sleeping is common for 2-3 weeks after surgery.

Icing is very important for the first 5-7 days post-operative. While the post-op dressing is in place, icing should be continuous. Once the dressing is removed on the first or second day, ice is applied for 20-minute periods 3-4 times per day. Care must be taken with icing to avoid frostbite to the skin.

On the first day after surgery, begin doing the pendulum exercises as instructed to you. Be sure to use and move your hand, wrist, and elbow in order to decrease swelling in your arm.

It is not uncommon for patients to encounter more pain on the first or second day after surgery. Using the pain medication as directed will help control pain. Taking pain medication before bedtime will assist in sleeping. It is important not to drink or drive while taking narcotic medication. If you were prescribed narcotic medication (i.e. vicodin, hydrocodone, percocet, oxycodone, dilaudid) you may supplement that medication with 200 mg or 400 mg of ibuprofen every 4-6 hours. You should resume your normal medications for other conditions the day after surgery. There are no specific diet restrictions after surgery, but narcotics may lead to constipation.

You will be instructed on the duration of sling use necessary in the recovery room. Bruising down into the elbow and chest wall is not uncommon. Sleeping may be aided by placing a pillow behind the operated shoulder.

Your follow-up visit with Dr. Diaz should be scheduled on the third day after surgery.

If unexpected problems occur and you need to speak to the doctor, call the office at 203-775-6205.