Postop Shoulder Stabilization
This is dependent on the procedure performed:
Anterior & Posterior Stabilization, Coracoid Transfer
You will be wearing a sling with a pillow at your side for 6 weeks after surgery. This is necessary to protect your shoulder while it heals properly. You may loosen your sling to move your hand, wrist and elbow after surgery, but you MUST keep your sling on at ALL times. Support your surgical arm even while showering, such as with a commercially available showering sling. Wear a large loose fitting shirt around your operative arm in the sling. When you come back to your first postoperative appointment, we will show you how to remove your sling and shower safely. We do want you to be up and walking around at home as much as possible after surgery.
The above restrictions apply. See elbow motion restrictions outlined below.
Moving Your Shoulder
It is OK for you to loosen your sling and move your hand, wrist and elbow gently three times a day. You may also squeeze the ball provided on your sling with your arm in the sling. To protect a SLAP repair, DO NOT flex your biceps or triceps muscles. You can still move the elbow of the arm that was operated on under power of your other arm. You will learn your shoulder exercises when you come to our office and start physical therapy.
Use a commercially available ice bag or fill a large plastic bag with ice and water. (Do not place a plastic bag directly on your skin, but place a towel on your shoulder in between your skin and the ice bag.) You can ice your shoulder 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off throughout the day. Do not ice your arm longer than 30 minutes at a time, as this can cause frost bite. Ice is most helpful in the first 3 days after surgery, but can help up to 2 weeks after surgery. We do not recommend that you use heat, as this can increase swelling.
You may remove your bandages and shower three days after surgery. If you have white Steri Strips, DO NOT remove them. It is OK to get your incisions wet after the bandage is removed, but it is very important not to soak the incision underwater (no bath, pool, hot tub etc…) for 3 weeks. It is OK to wash the incisions gently with soap and gently pat dry with a towel. Do not place any lotion or other ointment on your incisions. You may cover them with Band-Aids for comfort if they catch on your clothing.
You will be given a narcotic pain medicine (such as Percocet – oxycodone, Norco – hydrocodone, or Tylenol#3 – Codeine). We will prescribe a different medication if you cannot take these. Take this AS NEEDED only. Do not take additional Tylenol (sometimes called acetaminophen) with these medicines, as they already have Tylenol in them. You may SUBSTITUTE Tylenol for a narcotic pill if you choose to. Be certain that you do not exceed the maximum Tylenol dose as noted on the Tylenol bottle. Pain medicines often cause constipation, so you may want to purchase an over-the-counter stool softener (for example – Dulcolax, or you may also ask the Pharmacist) to take along with these medicines. It is best to take most of these medicines with some food, as they can all cause a little stomach upset.
You may have received Phenergan (promethazine) or Zofran (ondansetron). You may take these medications if you are having nausea or vomiting.
Please do not take NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen or Motrin, as these may slow healing of bone and tendon.
You should have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon in about 2 weeks if you stay overnight in the hospital. If you do not stay in the hospital, you will have an additional visit with the Physician’s Assistant within a few days of your surgery. Call (480) 964-2908 right away if you do not have an appointment already scheduled. We will check your incisions and remove any sutures at the 2-week visit. We will also answer any specific questions you may have about your surgery. We will consider getting you into Physical Therapy if this has not been arranged, as many patients benefit from PT after shoulder surgery.
Call our office at (480) 964-2908 with any urgent or emergent questions or concerns that you may have, or if you develop swelling in your leg with calf pain, swelling that will not go away when you elevate your leg, a temperature above 101.4, or drainage from your incisions.
If you experience any of these symptoms: go to an Emergency Department close to your house: High fever (above 102.5), chest pain, difficulty breathing, fainting, or bleeding.