Post Operative Instructions

Upper Extremity

  1. 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.

  2. EXERCISE

    ____ Wear the sling for protection post-operatively. Keep the sling in place until your surgeon sees you in the office. Starting tomorrow you may remove the sling 3-4 times a day to allow elbow, wrist and hand motion. Also begin gentle circular movements and pendulum exercises.

    ____Tomorrow remove the sling and begin gentle motion exercises. Discard sling as soon as comfortable. In 3-4 days begin wall climbing exercises and gradual overhead stretches.

  3. MEDICATION

    Take the following medication as directed:

    ________________________ ______________________ ________________________

    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.

    You should resume taking your normally prescribed medications unless otherwise directed

  4. DRESSING/SHOWERING

    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 and hot tubs are not allowed until the wound is completely healed. Use rubbing alcohol to remove the betadine prep solution from the skin.

    ____ Leave dressing on.

    ____ Remove dressing in 48 hours. Apply band aids to incision sites. Avoid direct water when showering. Dry thoroughly after showering and re-apply band aids. Avoid soaking in hot tubs, pools, lake or pond, as this increases the risk of post operative infection.

  5. QUESTIONS/CONCERNS

    Your surgeon should be contacted by calling 703-810-5202 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.
  6. FOLLOW-UP

    Your post-operative follow up appointment is scheduled on_______________________ at the ___________ Office. If you need to verify or change your post-op appointment, please call 703-277-BONE (2663).