Your care team will provide you with instructions to follow before your surgery. In general, those instructions will include no eating or drinking (including water) after midnight before surgery. If you smoke or drink alcohol, you will need to stop before surgery. You may also need to discontinue some medications, such as blood thinners.
Most shoulder surgery is outpatient, but if you get general anesthesia, you will need someone to bring you to the surgery center and take you home. You’ll likely need to wear a sling for at least the first week post-surgery, and potentially longer, depending on your situation.
Recovering from shoulder surgery will vary based on the extent of the repair you had done. In general, recovery will take between one and six months. You will need to wear a sling for the first few weeks after surgery and take medicine to help control the pain. Follow any post-operative instructions you are given regarding pain, wound management, and activity.
You will probably begin work with a physical therapist. Together, you will work to regain range of motion and strength in your shoulder.
Your care team will let you know when it is safe to return to work or sports. This will depend on the extent of the repair and how well you are healing. It may be several months before you can fully participate in your activities again.
After surgery, it is normal to feel pain, tenderness, and stiffness in your shoulder. This will go away over time. Shoulder surgery, especially minimally invasive techniques like arthroscopy, usually result in less pain and stiffness overall. Your body needs time to heal.
Shoulder surgery to fix a rotator cuff tear or tendinitis will usually relieve the pain, but it is possible you will not regain all of your strength. Your recovery and results are will be related to how diligent you are with your physical therapy.
Fixing cartilage tears to make the shoulder more stable usually results in a full recovery.
Total shoulder arthroplasty generally results in a significant reduction of pain and a return of range of motion. The replacement joint can generally last 10 years and, in many cases, longer.
The information contained in this article is meant for educational purposes only and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.