Rest, Ice, and Elevation

Lying flat in bed will be uncomfortable for several days. Sleeping with your back elevated on several pillows can be helpful. Apply ice to the shoulder intermittently for the first 24 hours.


Open or Arthroscopic shoulder surgery requires a sling for protection post-operatively. Keep the sling in place until your surgeon sees you in the office. You can remove the sling to allow elbow, wrist and hand motion only 3 times a day.


You will be told the medication(s) to take, including how much and how often.

Pain Medication Tips

  • Do not drive while taking pain medications.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking pain medications.
  • Pain medication should be taken with food as this will help prevent any stomach upset.
  • Often pain medications will cause constipation. Eat high fiber foods and increase your fluid intake if possible.
  • To alleviate constipation, purchase a stool softener at any pharmacy and follow the recommended directions on the bottle.


Slight bleeding through the dressing is common. Excessive bleeding should be reported to your surgeon. Dressings must be kept dry. Modify your bathing appropriately. Swimming or hot tubs are not allowed until the wound is completely healed. Use rubbing alcohol to remove the betadine prep solution from the skin.


Your surgeon should be contacted by calling 703-810-5213 Option 3 or 703-810-5215 Option 3, 24 hours a day for any of the following symptoms:

  • Fever greater than 101.5 degrees F.
  • Numbness, loss of good color or coolness in the arm.
  • Severe pain unresponsive to narcotic medication.
  • Excessive bleeding or vomiting.
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath – CALL 911


You will receive information on when and where your post-operative appointment is scheduled.

If you need to verify or change your post-op appointment, please call 703-277-2663.