Post-Operative Shoulder Arthroscopy Instructions

Thank you for choosing Dr. Berman and Arlington Orthopedic Associates to help you with your treatment needs. Please read this information carefully to answer many of the more common questions following your procedure.

What is shoulder arthroscopy?

Arthroscopy (a surgical technique using small incisions) allows your doctor to see and work inside your shoulder. It is used to find the cause and treat many joint problems. Because the incisions are so small, recovery requires less time and is less painful. For more information, please seen the shoulder animations section on this web site.

Some things to anticipate:

1.    You will be required to have a pre-operative work-up 5-7 days before your surgery. This work-up may include lab work, EKG, and/or x-rays. Shoulder arthroscopy is done as an outpatient surgical procedure, and you will go home within a few hours after your surgery. You will need someone to take you to the hospital and drive you home.

2.    When you awaken from anesthesia, you will have a large dressing on your shoulder, and an ice pack. The ice pack will help minimize swelling in the post-operative period, and should be worn consistently for the first 48-72 hours. A small towel may be placed between the ice pack and your dressing. It will absorb any condensation caused by the ice pack. You may remove that towel if you do not feel the ice pack is cooling your shoulder well enough. Although your dressing appears water-proof, it is not. Keep your dressings clean and dry. Do not shower until you are seen in the office for your follow-up appointment.

3.    Do not remove the dressing unless specifically instructed by a doctor or nurse to do so.

4.    You might have some bleeding or oozing from your shoulder incisions. Your dressing is designed to act as sponges or a wick to absorb the fluid from surgery; therefore, there may be some soiling of your dressing. If excessive bleeding or oozing occurs, you should contact our office.

5.     You may be placed in an arm sling or a shoulder immobilizer prior to being taken to the recovery room The section of these devices depends on the extent of your surgery. Whether you are placed in an immobilizer or sling, you should wear it at all times until told otherwise by a physician or nurse.

6.    You will be sent home from the hospital with a prescription for pain medications. Take the medications, if needed,  as directed by the pharmacist. The directions on the bottle is the maximum dose you are to take. If you do not need prescription pain medications, you may take 200mg to 400mg of Advil (Ibuprofen) every 4-6 hours, or you may take one (1) Advil (Ibuprofen) along with the prescription pain medications to minimize the amount of pain medications required. Occasionally some patients alternate their prescription pain medications with Advil every 2 hours for sustained relief. The prescription pain medications will only be refilled every 14 days. Do not drive if you have been taking pain medications.

7.    If your surgery is on Monday or Wednesday, you should make an appointment to be seen on the following Tuesday in the office. If your surgery is Friday, you should make an appointment on the following Thursday to be seen in the office. You will need to call the office to set up the appointment.

 Call the office if

1.    You develop a temperature over 100.0 degrees.

2.    After the dressings are removed by the doctor’s nurse, you have any drainage from your wounds.

Surgery is often an inconvenience. We hope to make your experience as pleasant as possible and start you on the way to recovery.