• After your shoulder surgery you will play a major role in your recovery
  • You will be discharged with your arm in a sling. You will be advised prior to discharge how long this needs to be worn and whether it needs to be worn at night
  • When you are in the sling this should be removed only for showering or when you are doing your exercises
  • I will advise you when to start using your arm out of the sling. Initially this will only be for very light waist level activities, avoiding any reaching, lifting, pushing, and pulling motions
  • Follow the instructions on the exercise sheet as these will regain your motion and speed recovery while preventing injury to the shoulder


  • If you have had an arm block this will typically wear off during the first night so you can expect pain to increase after this
  • Take the pain medication you have been prescribed as directed
  • Try ice packs on the shoulder for 20 minutes at a time every 4-6 hours, particularly following your exercises
  • Expect to feel discomfort in the first few weeks following surgery, especially at night. Some soreness can be expected to persist for a few months, especially after reverse shoulder replacement

Wound Care

  • Your dressing will have been changed prior to your discharge from hospital
  • Before you leave the hospital your dressings will be changed to waterproof dressings. This stays on until your first post-operative visit
  • You will be able to shower the day following surgery. Allow water to run over the waterproof dressings but do not use soap or soak the shoulder in a bath. Pat dry.
  • It is common to get swelling and bruising about the shoulder that can extend into the forearm and hand. This can persist for some time

Call your Doctor if you experience any of the following

  • Increasing severe pain
  • Increasing significant swelling
  • Wound drainage, redness or bleeding (a small amount of bleeding is expected)
  • Fever
  • Numbness or tingling in the arm that persists after the nerve block has worn off


  • I will see you approximately 7 to 10 days following your surgery. Please call Sue on 520 9631 if you are unsure of your appointment time
  • You cannot drive until your arm is out of the sling. You can expect to return to normal day to day activities 4 to 6 weeks after surgery if pain is tolerable.
  • Your pain and range of motion will keep improving for many months after shoulder replacement surgery