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Dr Allan Clarke

Shoulder and Knee Surgeon

Frequently Asked Questions after Shoulder Surgery

When can I shower?

Immediately after the surgery. (NB. If you notice your dressings are not waterproof, immediately contact the rooms, or the ward from which you were discharged to arrange replacements)

When will I be seen in the rooms after the operation?

You will be seen at about 2 and 6 weeks post-surgery. Later appointments will be determined by your progress.

For how long do I have to wear the sling?

The sling usually must be worn all the time for 4 weeks. If no tendon repair is performed then a sling may only be required for a few days.

Can I take the sling off to wash and dress?

Yes, but care should be taken not to use the muscles of the shoulder to lift the arm. The arm should be allowed to “dangle”.

When can I drive?

Don't drive for at least six weeks after surgery 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.

When can I return to work?

As a general rule if you can get to work, you can resume a sedentary job within 1-2 weeks. Physical jobs will require at least 3-6 months.

How will I know if the operation has worked?

It takes a long time to get the benefit from the operation. The first 1-2 months involve regaining shoulder range of motion. Gradual strengthening occurs between 3-6 months. Useful function of the shoulder is not usually achieved before 5 months and often longer. Many patients are frustrated in the first few months because the shoulder is still sore and weak. It takes many months for the full benefit to be gained and physiotherapy is an important part of the recovery.