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Shoulder Arthroscopy

These instructions are a guideline so you know more what to expect before and after your surgery.

  • Your post-operative appointment was made at the time your surgery was scheduled.
  • Wear a button up shirt that you don’t have to pull over your head and slip on shoes to the hospital on the day of your surgery.
  • If you are given an ice machine at the hospital, you will need to pick up several large bags of ice on your way home. Use the ice machine until you feel you no longer need it. If you already have one of these machines, please bring it with you to the hospital on the day of surgery.
  • You will be given a prescription for pain medication at the hospital.
  • You may resume driving when you are able to control your vehicle and no longer taking narcotic pain medication.
  • Use your sling for comfort unless instructed to wear it continuously until your post-operative appointment.
  • Keep the dressing clean and dry.
  • Remove the dressing 2-3 days after surgery. If you have steri-strips over the incision, leave them on until your post-operative appointment.
  • Shower as usual after the dressings have been removed. Blot the incisions dry and cover the stitches with band-aids to prevent them from catching on clothes. Do not use ointments or lotions on your incisions.
  • Do not remove your stitches. These will be taken out at your post-operative appointment.
  • There may be some drainage from the incisions the first couple days. This is normal.
  • A temperature over 101 degrees, very warm or bright red skin around the incision or puss draining from the incision is not normal. Call our office if you experience any of these symptoms.
  • Use ice as needed for pain and swelling.
  • If the doctor has repaired anything in your shoulder, you will need to have someone to help you at home for several days after your surgery. Wear your sling at all times, except when showering and doing your exercises.
  • Do your exercises as instructed several times a day. These will help to prevent your shoulder from freezing up. Start these after you have removed the dressings.


Lean forward at the waist, letting your surgical arm hang freely. Support yourself by placing the opposite hand on a chair, table, or counter as shown. Do not tense up. By swaying your whole body slowly, you will cause your arm to move.

Sway your body to cause the following motions of your arm:

  1. forward and back
  2. side to side
  3. moving in circular patterns, clockwise
  4. moving in circular patterns, counterclockwise

Do several repetitions in each direction. Repeat exercise 3-4 times per day as tolerated beginning day 2 after surgery.

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