Recovery after surgery
The following contains only a general description of the post-operative activities that are usually suggested by health care professionals . Please do not use this information as a medical prescription of postoperative care; always refer to your surgeon’s directions for adequate post-operative therapy.
As time passes, you have the potential to experience a reduction in joint pain and a significant improvement in your ability to participate in daily activities.
1 WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO RETURN TO WORK?
Returning to work could be as soon as 2 weeks or as long as 3 months; your specific timetable will depend on your postoperative progress and your job. Your surgeon will determine when you will be able to return to work based on your job responsibilities. Returning to work will also depend on your commitment to and progress in rehabilitation.
2 WHAT WILL MY RECOVERY BE LIKE AFTER SURGERY?
Therapy is crucial to proper rehabilitation of your shoulder. Your surgeon along with a team of therapists will work to design a rehabilitation program specific to you. Therapy may begin as soon as the day of surgery and, subject to your surgeon’s recommendation, can last several months post-surgery. Your commitment to and progress in your therapy program will determine how well you recover.
3 WILL I BE ABLE TO CARE FOR MYSELF AFTER SURGERY?
It is good to have someone help you with daily activities the first days or weeks after surgery, especially for activities in your daily life, for example taking a shower. You should be able to return to normal activities such as dressing and grooming within a few weeks.
4 WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO SHOWER?
In most cases your surgical incision will be closed with absorbable sutures or staples and covered with surgical glue or or a bandage. Most of the time, you should be able to shower in about 2-3 days after surgery, but you will not be allowed to submerge your incision in water. A bandage should cover the incision until the 2 week follow-up appointment with your surgeon. Your surgeon will advise you of exactly when and how you will be able to shower based on the type of closure performed.
5 WHEN WILL I BE ABLE TO DRIVE AGAIN?
While on any type of narcotic pain medication, you will not be able to drive. You will also be required to wear a sling; most states prohibit driving when wearing a sling. Your surgeon will advise you when you will be able to drive again, most likely in 4-6 weeks approximately.
6 HOW LONG IS THE RECOVERY PERIOD AFTER A SHOULDER REPLACEMENT?
You will generally be in the hospital for 1-3 days as determind by your surgeon. When you leave the hospital, you will probably be weating a shoulder sling and your arm will be sore for several weeks. Your surgeon along with the rehabilitation team will work with you to start your rehabilitation. They will work with you on exercises that you will do at home as well as in the clinic that will help you recover. Total recovery is patient specific, but generally ranges from three to six months.
7 WHAT IS THE PHYSICAL THERAPY PROCESS AFTER SHOULDER REPLACEMENT?
Working with a physical therapist will be critical in your total recovery from shoulder replacement surgery. Your rehabilitation schedule may start as soon as the day of surgery while you are in the hospital.
You will continue to work with a physical therapy team once you leave the hospital. Your surgeon’s office will set this up for you. You will be given exercises to perform at home, which are designed to increase your range of motion, mobility and strength. Your surgeon will provide you with a list of “do’s and don’ts” after surgery and your rehabilitation team will work with you to design a specific program based on your individual situation.