Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery
Rotator Cuff Surgery and Recovery
After rotator cuff surgery, the patient is taken to a recovery room for an hour or two. The injured arm is kept in a sling, often with a pillow behind the elbow. Patients initially drink only clear liquids before eating regular food. Ice is applied to the shoulder for comfort. Patients are encouraged to get out of bed with the arm in a sling. The sling can usually be released but not removed, allowing the elbow to straighten without moving the shoulder. Patients who had open surgery usually stay in the hospital for a day or two. Patients who had arthroscopic surgery are allowed to return home on the same day, but our partner hospitals will usually keep you admitted in the hospital for a couple of days.
Physical therapy plays an extremely important role in the rotator cuff recovery process. A physical therapist teaches the patient exercises designed to help regain flexibility and strength in the injured shoulder.
Most patients begin physical therapy before leaving the hospital. The physical therapist is an educator. The therapist’s role is to teach the patient appropriate exercises that can be done safely at home to speed the recovery from rotator cuff surgery. He or she will also teach the patient how to avoid re-injuring the surgically repaired rotator cuff.
Because physical therapy can be difficult and physically demanding, therapists usually like to meet with members of the patient’s family in the hospital so they can learn to help the patient with physical therapy at home.
Hospital discharge and home instructions
At home, it is extremely important to perform physical therapy exercises as directed, usually five times a day.
Patients should begin moving the shoulder through its full range of motion as soon as possible after surgery in order to prevent the formation of scar tissue. This is performed passively, or with the use of the opposite arm to assist. If the shoulder is not moved properly, scarring may cause it to stiffen. Stiffness may cause discomfort and limit the ability of the shoulder to function. Ice should be applied to the shoulder after exercising.
Patients often notice some skin discoloration near the wound or in the upper arm. There’s no need to worry. The hand or forearm may also swell. Usually this swelling will go down if the arm is elevated appropriately.
The First Twelve Weeks After Surgery
During the first twelve weeks after surgery, it’s important to follow two basic principles:
- Perform physical therapy exercises regularly. Moving the surgically repaired arm through its full range of motion is crucial to prevent scarring and stiffness.
- Strictly control activity when not exercising. Be extremely careful not to lift the surgically repaired arm away from the body. Don’t use it to push or pull anything.
The arm should always be kept in the sling when you are standing or walking. When sitting or lying awake in bed, you can release the sling without removing it. The sling should be worn at night until satisfactory control of the arm is regained. Remove the sling only to exercise or take a shower. The injured arm should be used only for exercise. It’s okay to use the hand for writing, eating, or drinking, as long as the arm is moved only at the elbow and wrist. Under no circumstances should the injured arm be used to reach for or lift something. It should not be lifted above the head or moved away from the body.
Once the sutures are removed, you can shower without covering the incision. The arm should be supported while taking a shower.
Driving after rotator cuff surgery is to be avoided for at least six weeks, or until the sling is discontinued. Driving with one arm is unsafe, and the surgically repaired arm shouldn’t be moved away from the body. It’s also easy to re-injure the shoulder in an accident or an emergency stop.
Read more….Rotator Cuff Surgery