After your shoulder operation, your incisions will be closed with stitches that will either dissolve with time or need to be removed at your follow-up appointment. A dressing will be placed over your stitches and your arm will be placed into a sling to protect your operated area. You will then be taken to a recovery ward where a Nurse will offer you refreshments and medication to lessen any post-operative pain.
During your recovery at our hospital, a Physiotherapist will guide you through a series of exercises to help you move your shoulder. This could include elbow extension (straightening) exercises or shoulder rotations. Your Physiotherapist will also show how to put your sling on and take it off when showering, getting dressed and doing your exercises. The length of time that you will need to wear this sling will depend on your operation and your Orthopaedic Surgeon or Physiotherapist will inform you when you can stop wearing your sling.
If you have had an arthroscopy, you will be able to go home the same day or the following day. But if you have had a replacement operation, you will usually be discharged from our hospital in Birmingham after about one to two days.
Recovery from shoulder surgery: what to expect
After you have been discharged from our hospital, you will need to continue doing your recommended physiotherapy exercises throughout your recovery.
If your job is mostly sedentary (sitting down), you should be able to work after around six weeks. But if your profession involves heavy lifting or overhead movements, your return to work after shoulder surgery will take longer. This will vary depending on the operation that you have had.
Regardless of the surgery that you have had, you should only drive when your arm is no longer in a sling and you have complete control over your vehicle. It will usually take about six to eight weeks before you can drive again.
At six to eight weeks after your shoulder surgery, you can swim gentle modified strokes. But you will be advised to avoid freestyle swimming for at least 12 weeks (about 3 months). Your Consultant will discuss when you can return to other sports such as tennis, golf, or badminton at your follow-up appointment.