Sling

Wear your sling as instructed, including during sleep. You may not drive while you are wearing the sling.

Movement

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.

Ice

Apply ice bags were used to cooling device if you obtained 1 before surgery, to control swelling. Ice should be applied 20-30 minutes at a time, every hour or 2. To protect her 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.

Surgical Site

Keep your incisions dry and covered with the surgical bandage for 7 days following surgery. The incision itself must be kept dry and undisturbed 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, please call our office and we can provide a fresh dressing. However, it is best to leave the dressing undisturbed entirely for 7 days.

Showering

You may shower 7 days after surgery. You may put a plastic bag over the arm and seal it securely. However, you must keep your incision dry with the existing watertight bandage up to 7 days if possible. Sponge baths are allowed prior to this time. 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 7-10 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 (571) 349-4000. If the office is closed, call the hospital at (703) 665-2720 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.

Pain Medication

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.

Follow-Up

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. If you were not given a physical therapy prescription, we will provide one for you at the first postoperative appointment.

[Adapted from John Costouros from Stanford University]