Whether our surgical techniques are getting better or we’re beating our bodies up more, arthroscopy in the United States is on the rise. For example, rotator cuff repair surgeries are going from 460,000 annual procedures five years ago to a projected 570,000 procedures this year (2023).
If you’re in need of shoulder surgery, you want everything to go as smoothly as possible. In choosing board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. Schell of William Schell, MD, you’re well on your way. Dr. Schell has extensive experience performing shoulder arthroscopy, and he’s helped scores of patients to wave goodbye to shoulder issues.
While we do our part to expertly repair your shoulder to restore pain-free function, there are some steps you can take to ease your recovery. Let’s take a look.
1. Prep the homefront
The odds are good that your arm is going to be out of action for a few weeks after your shoulder arthroscopy, so it’s a good idea to prepare for this temporary disability at home. For example, if you’ve ever tried cooking with one hand, you know how challenging it can be. So, you might consider making some meals in advance that only need a quick warming up in the microwave.
You might also swap out your wardrobe for clothes that are easier to get in and out of. Consider pants with an elastic waist rather than those button fly jeans that require two hands. Going in the opposite direction, button shirts are easier than those you have to pull over your head.
In the bathroom, you might consider a shower chair and products that you can pump out with one hand.
2. Move, but not your arm
Immediately after your shoulder surgery, you should take it easy for a day or two. After that, we do want you to move around, which can help your shoulder heal more quickly as it gets your blood flowing and resources circulating.
We suggest that you go for a nice long walk (no running until your shoulder heals). You can also try exercising your lower body with squats and lunges.
As for your shoulder, you should not be lifting anything for a week or two and, after that, only lightweight objects for another week or two.
3. Stick with your physical therapy
After your shoulder arthroscopy, we prescribe physical therapy (PT), and it’s paramount that you stick with this portion of your recovery. This means attending all of your PT appointments and doing your at-home exercises.
PT plays an invaluable role in restoring function to your shoulder through strengthening and range-of-motion exercises. We also work with your physical therapist so we can greenlight more activities and shoulder use as you progress and heal.
4. Follow our instructions
Perhaps we should have started with this tip, but it’s important that you follow our aftercare instructions to the letter. Even though we only make small incisions during your shoulder arthroscopy, these are still incisions and require some care and protection.
From changing bandages and looking out for signs of infection to covering the site during your showers, please follow our instructions carefully.
Of course, we’re just a phone call away if you have any questions or concerns after your shoulder arthroscopy. All you need to do is contact our New York City office, which is located on Columbus Circle on the Upper West Side.