Discharge Instructions for Shoulder Arthroscopic Surgery

Below are discharge instructions for shoulder arthroscopic surgery.

DRESSINGS

The shoulder bandage may be removed 24 hours after surgery for showering.  You may cover the stitches with Band-Aids upon removing the larger bandage.  It is normal to see bloody drainage on the bandages.

SHOWERING

Showers are acceptable after the bandage has been removed.  Simply cover each incision with a dry Band-aid.  Do not however, use a bathtub, Jacuzzi or otherwise submerge the shoulder underneath water.  After showering remove the wet Band-aids, dry the area and place dry ones.

SWELLING

It is common to experience temporary swelling around the shoulder and arm.  This may include black and blue bruising in the chest and lower parts of the arm.  To minimize swelling utilize the ice machine / ice pack and practice moving the elbow, wrist and hand to “pump the swelling” out the arm.

ICING

3You have been provided with a device that circulates cooled water through a shoulder wrap.  This is set at a temperature that allows for cooling and pain relief but is unlikely to burn your skin with prolonged use.  You are not able to change the temperature.

Most patients find that the cooling machine, or safe use of your own ice pack, contributes to pain relief and reduction in swelling.  Please use the machine as long as it provides you with relief – there are NO requirements for using it.

RELIEF OF PAIN

Most patients are prescribed the following medications.  These medications may be used together and should be taken as instructed on the pharmacy bottle:

Celebrex or Mobic –  both are anti-inflammatories (NSAID) to help relieve pain and swelling (please do not take and notify us if you have a sulfa allergy)

Norco or Percocet – a narcotic pain medication (hydrocodone or oxycodone) combined with acetaminophen (generic form of Tylenol)

ECASA – coated aspirin – ECASA 325 mg daily for 10 days may decrease the unlikely complication of blood clots (DVT) and pulmonary emboli.  Early movement and mobilization may also decrease this risk.  If you have a personal or family history of clotting please discuss with our office and your internist as additional medications may be indicated.

Tylenol – may be used in place of pain medication (Norco/Percocet) for mild pain.  Please note that the maximum daily dose of Tylenol is 4000 mg.

Do not take strong medication on an empty stomach.  Do not drink alcohol or drive while taking a prescribed pain medication.

DIET

The day after surgery, you should drink lots of fluids and eat soft, nutritious foods.  An adequate diet is essential for the healing process.

NAUSEA & VOMITING

Although unusual, both can be experienced after anesthesia in surgery.  If you have a tendency for this, please discuss it with the anesthesiologist.  Otherwise it is usually alleviated with a clear liquid diet.

ACTIVITIES

A sling has been provided to you and should be used for comfort throughout the first week.  You may remove the sling several times per day to bend and straighten the elbow as well as perform hand exercises including opening and closing the fist.  You will receive further instructions regarding use of the sling at your first postoperative appointment.

POSTOPERATIVE OFFICE VISIT

Your first post-operative visit should already be arranged.  If you are uncertain, please call our office during regular working hours to schedule your appointment at your convenience 7-10 days following surgery.

DAY OF SURGERY

Patients are typically asked to arrive at the surgery center 1-2 hours prior to surgery in order to complete paperwork, speak with nurses and anesthesiologist, etc.  The surgery lasts approximately 1 hour and time in the recovery room usually lasts an additional 1-2 hours.

You MUST be picked up by a family member, friend etc who will be allowed to join you in the recovery room once you are awake and comfortable.  It is typically helpful to have a friend or family member stay with you at home for the first 24 hours after surgery.

EMERGENCY

Please call 911 if you have a life-threatening emergency.  If after hours, please call the office and you will be connected with the doctor on call.

WE WOULD LIKE TO MAKE THE DAY OF SURGERY AND POST OPERATIVE RECOVERY AS EASY AS POSSIBLE FOR YOU.  IF YOU HAVE ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS OR IF PROBLEMS SHOULD DEVELOP, DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US.