GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS AFTER ARTHROSCOPIC SURGERY OF THE SHOULDER
These guidelines represent the author’s preferences for postoperative treatment only and do not reflect any general opinion. It has been stated that there are almost as many recommendations for postoperative treatment as there are shoulder surgeons. That probably is true.
After the operation, a thick bandage is placed on the operated area to absorb excess arthroscopic fluid oozing through the puncture wounds. The bandage is removed after a day or two and the wounds are inspected. The wounds may now be covered with medical tape. At this point, the patient may take showers. Swimming and taking a bath is not permitted until the stitches have been are taken out 10 days after the operation.
Patients use a supportive sling for 4 weeks to make sure the attached tissue heals on its place properly. However, there are exceptions to this. During this time, slight movements at the waistline are permitted. The patient may use the operated arm for writing, using a computer and eating. Patients may also watch TV without the sling with their arm resting in their lap.
The sling is removed 4 weeks after the operation, and the patient may begin light exercises. However, physical therapy and rehabilitation may not begin until 5–6 weeks after the operation. This is due to the fact that it takes about 6 weeks for a tendon or labral tissue to heal in place.
The severity of pain in the shoulder is an indicator of how much exercise the patient should do. The intensity of rehabilitation should be increased gradually. The arm should not be forcefully twisted in any direction. Healing always takes time.
The patient may begin jogging/running 2 months from the operation. Weightlifting and working out at the gym can begin according to the individual guidelines provided by the physiotherapist. It takes about 4 months for a shoulder to be healed to the extent that the patient can do sports or engage in heavy labor after any reconstructive shoulder surgery.