Home Instructions After Shoulder Surgery

1.  Call the office immediately if you have a fever over 101.5 degrees, or if you develop numbness in your fingers.

2.  Some swelling and bruising around the elbow and forearm are normal; however swelling should not be tense or associated with numbness in the hand or forearm.  If this occurs, call Dr. Samani  IMMEIDIATELY. Ice the shoulder and incision area for 15-20 minutes each night.  Use the refillable ice bag you received from the hospital or a Zip-Lock freezer bag with ice and water.

3.  For pain, take extra-strength Tylenol gel-caps (over the counter medication), 2 tablets 2-3 times per day. For extra pain relief, usually at night, take your prescription medication as directed. You can take both of these medications as the same time as directed.

4.  Activity: If you had a ROTATOR CUFF RECONSTRUCTION:

The key is to keep your elbow BY YOUR SIDE AT ALL TIMES, especially at NIGHT, As this is the time that most people reach above their heads unknowingly, and disrupt the repair.

Twice daily for 10-15 minutes you should remove the sling and swathe to do pendulum exercise as reviewed with your prior to discharge from the hospital.

To do this properly, you should carefully remove your arm from the sling, keeping your elbow as close to your side as possible.  Lean forward and point at the floor.  Rotate your arm, “drawing circles” on the floor with your pointed finger.


You are encouraged to remove your arm from the sling as often as possible and use your arm above your head as tolerated.  You will have some discomfort, but there is nothing to lose and everything to gain from early motion.

5.  Bathing:  You must bathe with a washcloth and soap & water in a basin until the fifth Day after surgery.

You may shower on the FIFTH day after surgery.  DO NOT soak/submerge your shoulder in water until 2 weeks after your surgery.

Carefully BLOT, DO NOT WIPE, your incision with a clean towel, and then wipe off the rest of your body.

6.  Bandages:  You may remove the tape and dressing on the FIFTH day after surgery. DO NOT remove the small tape strips directly over the incision.  These will come off on their own.

7.  Call the office IMMEDIATELY if you notice drainage from your incision.

8.  Clothing:  Try to wear loose fitting garments on the upper body.  Large sleeves are preferred if you want to place your arm through the sleeve. You may wear the sling and swathe OVER or UNDER your shirt…..

If you wear the sling Under the shirt, the sleeves will be empty.  Use an oversized shirt that can be buttoned over your arm in front.

If you prefer to place your arm through the sleeve of a shirt:

  • When placing the shirt ON, lean forward as when doing pendulum exercises, and place the operative arm through the sleeve first. Again, DO NOT raise the elbow from your side. Then place the opposite elbow through the opposite sleeve in the usual manner.
  • When taking the shirt OFF, first remove your good arm, and then leaning forward, slip the shirt off the operative arm. Be very careful not to raise your elbow from you side.

9.  Follow-up appointments:  Be sure to call the office to arrange a follow up with Dr. Samani in 2-3 weeks.

Arrange an appointment with Physical Therapy for the same day you see Dr. Samani. You will have therapy 3x/week to work on motion.