Leave your bandage in place for 48 hours. It is normal to see some drainage on the dressings. The bandage should be removed and the incisions 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. After 48 hours, treat the small incisions like normal skin. Allow the 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 incisions.
Patients are generally more comfortable sleeping in a reclining chair or with pillows propped behind the shoulder. Some difficulty with sleeping is common for 1-2 weeks after surgery.
Icing is very important for the first 5-7 days after surgery. While the post-op dressing is in place, icing should be continuous. Once the dressing is removed on the 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. Be sure to use and move your hand, wrist, and elbow in order to prevent stiffness. It is okay to use your arm and hand for table top activities.
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. Narcotics may lead to constipation.
You will be instructed on the duration of sling use. All patients will require a sling for the first 24 hours. The nature of your surgery determines the duration of use. You will be given specific instructions regarding your sling in the recovery room after surgery. Bruising from the surgical site may migrate into the elbow and chest wall, and is not uncommon.
Your follow-up visit with Dr. Diaz will be scheduled on the third day after surgery. Physical therapy will start on the fifth day after surgery.
If unexpected problems occur and you need to speak to the doctor, call the office at 203-775-6205.