Your Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Guide

1. Rest and Recovery

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On the day of your surgery, expect to feel dizzy, light-headed, or sleepy for the next 12-24 hours. Take it slow and be cautious, especially when navigating stairs. Avoid driving or operating machinery until these sensations subside. Generalized aching and sore muscles for the next 24-48 hours are normal after anesthesia. You may also experience a sore throat.

2. Gradual Diet Resumption

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After surgery, gradually reintroduce clear liquids and progress to solid foods as tolerated. Nausea is common after taking pain medication, so consider having a light meal with your medication to minimize discomfort. Adjust your diet and medication as needed to promote a smooth recovery.

3. Avoid Alcohol and Important Decisions

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Avoid alcohol and making significant decisions for at least 24 hours following surgery. Alcohol can interact with medications, leading to adverse effects like dizziness and nausea. It’s important to prioritize rest and recovery during this critical period to support optimal healing and minimize the risk of complications.

4. Pain Management

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Take your prescribed pain medication as directed to manage discomfort. Note that numbing medication injected during surgery will wear off within the first 24 hours, so stay ahead of the pain by adhering to your medication schedule.

5. Comfortable Sleeping Positions

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Finding a comfortable sleeping position post-surgery can be challenging due to discomfort and limited mobility. One suggestion is to elevate your upper body and head using multiple pillows to reduce pressure on the shoulder area. Alternatively, sleeping in a recliner may provide better support and relieve strain on the operating shoulder. Experiment with different positions to find what works best for you, and prioritize rest to support the healing process. If discomfort persists, consult your healthcare provider for additional guidance on managing sleep during recovery.

6. Ice Therapy

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Apply ice packs regularly for the first 48 hours after surgery, then as needed for comfort. Make sure you have at least two ice gel packs before your surgery.

7. Monitor Symptoms

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Report any temperature elevations above 101 degrees Fahrenheit or persistent nausea and vomiting to your doctor. Mild temperature increases are normal after surgery.

8. Keep Dressings Clean and Dry

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Maintain the cleanliness and dryness of all dressings for the first 24 hours post-surgery. Dry dressings provide a protective barrier against pathogens, reducing the risk of contamination and promoting comfort.

9. Expect Drainage

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Some drainage through the dressing is expected within the first 24 hours, primarily comprising the saline solution used during the procedure.

10. Follow Surgeon’s Instructions

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Follow the specific post-surgery instructions provided by your surgeon. These may include wearing a shoulder immobilizer (sling), performing pendulum exercises, and managing wound care.

Follow only the instructions checked by your surgeon on the day of your surgery:

  • Keep the shoulder immobilizer (sling) on at all times.
  • Remove the shoulder immobilizer (sling) only when performing prescribed exercises.
  • Initiate pendulum exercises with your operative arm, performing 20 clockwise and 20 counterclockwise rotations hourly while awake. Gradually increase
  • rotations to 50 each, as directed in the instruction sheet.
  • Dispose of the immobilizer the morning after surgery, and begin using your arm as much as possible.
  • Remove all dressings from the wound site after 24 hours and replace them with Band-Aids.
  • Ensure your incisions remain covered and dry until your clinic visit.

Contact Pacific Crest Orthopedics for guidance if you have any concerns or questions.

Real Stories, Real Recovery.

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“Dr. Dickinson has been super helpful in my recovery and truly cares about the patient in getting back to full range of motion. Great team all around – I highly recommend!”

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Don’t Wait To Get The Care You Need. Fix What Hurts, Fast.