Go to Surgery Guidance for more information.
- Keep your operated shoulder/arm in a shoulder immobilizer/sling as instructed for immobilization, support, and comfort. (Refer to the sling guide from your doctor’s office for how to properly take it on and off.)
- Keep your operated arm elevated above your heart when sitting or lying by using a pillow or wedge under it to reduce pain and swelling.
- Do not actively lift your operated arm to the side, away from your body, or overhead. Do not reach behind and push yourself up with your operated arm. Follow your doctor’s instructions for activity and therapy.
- You may use your hand and wrist for simple activities, such as brushing your teeth, combing your hair, and feeding yourself.
- You may loosen/temporarily remove the sling/immobilizer to allow your elbow to straighten a few times a day to prevent elbow stiffness.
- Using your sling or wedge protects the surgical repair. Follow your doctor’s instructions for when you can discontinue wearing the sling or if your doctor will allow you to take it off for brief periods daily. When the sling is removed, check your skin for irritation from the sling.
- During your recovery, your major focus will be to get your strength and function back. Plan your activities to be spread throughout the day and include rest times. Increase your activity (for example, walking) slowly and steadily.
- Use your pain level as a guide; for example, stop an activity if the pain level goes over your tolerable/acceptable level of pain.
- Most patients find it more comfortable to sleep in a recliner chair or to use pillows or a wedge to elevate their upper body in bed.
Follow your doctor’s instructions about driving.