Wear your sling as instructed, including during sleep. You may not drive while you are wearing the sling.
You may be instructed to not move your shoulder after surgery. How much movement you are allowed is dependent on whether we have done a repair. You are encouraged to begin elbow/wrist/hand motion the day following surgery. The red ball attached the shoulder sling can be squeezed throughout the day to reduce swelling in the hand and forearm.
Apply ice bags or use cooling device if you obtained one before surgery, to control swelling. Ice should be applied 20-30 minutes at a time, every hour or 2. To protect your skin, put a thin towel or T-shirt next your skin when using ice and a plastic bag. Icing is most important in the first 48 hours after surgery. In addition, ice can be quite helpful to reduce pain thereafter.
Keep your incisions dry and covered with the surgical bandage for 7 days following surgery. The incision itself must be kept dry for the first 7 postoperative days. This is very important to avoid infection. If after 3 days postop your dressing becomes unexpectedly saturated or soiled, you may remove the dressing and replace it with a clean dressing, or wait until your follow-up with Dr. Kandil.
You may shower 2 days after surgery. However, you must keep your incision dry with the existing watertight bandage. Do not let the direct spray of water from the shower–head hit your shoulder. Hand-held shower heads are best. The incisions under the dressing need to be kept dry for the first 7 postoperative days.
This is very important to avoid infection.
Things to look for:
If you see green/yellow drainage, have a fever greater than 101°F, have chills, and experience increasing, uncontrolled pain after taking your pain meds, then call our surgery scheduler at (703) 665-2720, or my medical assistant at (703) 665-2720. If the office is closed, call the hospital at (571) 349-4000 and ask the operator to page the orthopedic surgeon on call. It is normal to have swelling and discomfort in the shoulder for several days or weeks after surgery. It is normal to have bruising upper arm after surgery.
Take your pain medication as prescribed. DO NOT DRIVE while on this pain medication. While you’re taking the pain medication, be sure to take a stool softener to prevent/manage possible constipation while on opioid pain medications. These medications are available over-the-counter. If your pain medication is causing nausea or vomiting please call the office at (703) 665-2720 and we will send a prescription to the pharmacy to manage these symptoms, and/or change your medication.
We generally see you for your postop follow-up 10-14 days after surgery. This should already be scheduled appointment. If you would like to change your postoperative appointment call the surgery scheduler at (703) 665-2720. In addition, please schedule your physical therapy appointment if you were given a physical therapy prescription today.
[Adapted from John Costouros from Stanford University]