Orthopedic Shoulder Surgery: Recovery Basics

Posted on: 30 June 2019


If you are about to undergo shoulder surgery, you need to be prepared for the recovery period and the time that will pass afterward. The better prepared you are, the easier it is for you to make a complete and successful recovery. Here are some things you should consider and discuss with your orthopedic surgeon before your surgery appointment.

Understand The Sling Guidelines

You will have to keep your arm in a sling for a predetermined period after your surgery. This keeps your shoulder immobilized to help it heal. Make sure that you understand exactly how long you are supposed to wear the sling and follow those instructions precisely. Failing to do so can lead to prolonging your recovery or suffering further injuries.

Ask About Personal Care Tasks

Since your arm needs to be immobilized for most of the day, you need to be sure that you also clarify the instructions for bathing, dressing, and other similar personal care tasks. Your surgeon will provide you with guidelines that help you understand how to go about these tasks without causing further injury.

Familiarize Yourself With Wound Care

Your surgical wound needs specific care to help you avoid infection and ensure proper healing. Take time to talk with your surgeon about what type of care the wound needs, including any ointment that must be applied, how often your dressing must be changed, and how dry it must be kept. If you reach a point after your discharge where you have any questions or uncertainties, including about signs of infection, call your surgeon's office right away.

Prepare For Physical Therapy

Part of your surgery recovery will include physical therapy. The duration of your therapy and the timing of the sessions will vary based on the type of surgery you've had and the injury it was repairing.

Ask about the physical therapy requirements, especially if you will be beginning therapy right after your surgery. Sometimes, you have to start therapy that early to ensure that the muscles and joints retain some range of motion despite the fact that it needs to stay immobilized most of the time. Short periods, such as those for physical therapy, are perfectly acceptable.

The more you understand about your orthopedic surgery process and the recovery that follows, the easier it will be for you to complete that surgery and heal appropriately. Talk with your orthopedic surgeon about the process and any questions that you might have so that you go into the surgery appointment confident.