Post Operative Instructions

Shoulder Arthroscopy

  1. Sling: Your shoulder will be in a sling at all times including sleep. You may loosen the sling to straighten your elbow when seated but do not remove and do not move your shoulder.
    1. Most people are more comfortable sleeping in a reclined position after shoulder surgery. A recliner chair is ideal but a bunch of pillows on the couch should work.
    2. At your post-op appointment, we will review surgical findings and discuss duration of sling use.
  2. Dressing: Do not remove the surgical dressing until two full days after your surgery(for example- if surgery is Tuesday, do not remove until Thursday).
    1. Do not shower during the two days the dressing is in place. Once you remove the dressings, you may shower - keep your arm close to your body and do not use it.
    2. There may be bloody drainage on the dressing, which is common. If this occurs, do not remove the dressing - you may reinforce it with gauze and medical tape (obtained from the pharmacy)
    3. After the two days, you may remove the dressing and will see your small surgical incisions. Cleanse gentle with soap and water, do not scrub the area. Once dry, use Band-Aids to cover the incisions. Do not apply any ointment or lotions such as Neosporin or hydrogen peroxide.
  3. Ice: Use ice to help minimize pain and swelling. Use a large bag of ice or frozen vegetables and drape over the shoulder for 20-30 minutes. Do not place directly on the skin but on a towel placed over the shoulder. Ice the shoulder at least 3-5 times daily for at least the first 2-3 days and then as needed.
  4. Pain Management: Most patients receive a "numbing" block duringsurgery. It may provide significant pain relief for 4-12 hours after surgery. It is important to start taking your pain medication as soon as you feel any discomfort. Do not wait until pain is intense - you will have more difficulty controlling pain if you do.You will be given a prescription for pain medication, use as directed if needed.
    1. You may also take one of the following over the counter medications in addition to the prescription: Advil/Motrin/Ibuprofen 400-800mg every 8 hours or Aleve 220-440mg every 12 hours if needed.
    2. Avoid Tylenol if you are taking the pain prescription as it usually has Tylenol combined with a narcotic. You may take Tylenol if you are not taking the pain prescription.
    3. A common side effect of narcotic medications is constipation: start taking a stool softener starting the day of surgery. Colace or Senna are over the counter stool softener found at pharmacies.
    4. Nausea after surgery can be cause by pain medications or anesthesia. If occurs, please notify Dr. Stuart's office and a medication can be prescribed for it.
  5. Follow up appointment: An appointment for follow up has been made for you on:

If you have any questions or concerns prior to then, please don't hesitate to call 804.320.1339 and ask to speak with Dr. Stuart's team.