Surgical Services

ORTHOPEDIC SHOULDER REPLACEMENT POST SURGERY INSTRUCTIONS

DRESSING:

Keep your dressing and sling clean, dry, and intact at all times (unless otherwise instructed by your surgeon).

You may see some watery or blood-stained fluid on the dressing. If the dressing becomes soaked, there may be a problem. Go to the emergency department.

 

SWELLING:

There will be some swelling of the surgical site, and this should settle down after 3 to 4 days from surgery. You should keep the surgical site elevated above the level of the heart at all times (sit up in bed) for the first 2 days after surgery. Apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel (to prevent the dressing from getting wet and soft) to reduce pain and swelling. Apply the ice pack for 20 minutes, and then remove the ice pack for 20 minutes; repeat 3 to 4 times daily or more if needed.

Keep your hand in the sling to avoid swelling of the hand.


ACTIVITIES:

Avoid vigorous exercise such as jogging, bicycling, walking long distances climbing heights, riding a horse, skateboarding, etc. for 6 weeks after surgery. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 6 weeks following surgery. Your surgeon will let you know when you are personally ready to resume certain activities, including driving and work activities.

Follow specific activity restrictions as instructed by your surgeon.

Wear a sling as instructed by your surgeon, and keep your hand in the sling to avoid swelling of the hand.

Wiggle your fingers and move your wrist in the sling 10-15 times every hour while you are awake and follow range of motion exercises as instructed by your surgeon.

 

PAIN MEDICATION:

You may have muscle soreness that feels like you underwent heavy exercise or have the flu for 1-2 days after surgery. Tylenol (acetaminophen) OR the pain medication that your surgeon prescribed should help this. Do not take acetaminophen and your narcotic prescription pain medication at the same time.

You should take the pain medication that your surgeon prescribed at the onset of pain as directed. If your pain is not relieved with the pain medication, go to the emergency department.

Narcotic pain medication may cause constipation (hard stool or inability to have a bowel movement). You may need to take an over-the-counter stool softener to prevent or resolve this, or you can ask your surgeon to prescribe one for you. Also, drink plenty of fluids that do not contain sugar.

Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking narcotic pain medication.

 

NAUSEA & VOMITTING:

For nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) and vomiting (throwing up), drink plenty of fluids. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN. Start with small amounts of clear liquids and progress slowly, as tolerated, to a regular diet. If unable to keep fluids down, GO TO THE EMERGENCY ROOM.

Narcotic pain medications can cause nausea and vomiting. Stop taking narcotic pain medication and try Tylenol (acetaminophen) or ibuprofen in addition to elevation for pain relief instead.

 

FOLLOW UP:

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you follow up with your surgeon as scheduled. If you cannot make your scheduled appointment, notify the Orthopedic Surgery clinic as soon as possible at: 1-928-283-2660 to make other arrangements.

 

PLEASE CALL FOR ANY QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS-TCRHCC, 1-888-264-9905

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL ATTENTION:

If you have an increase in pain or swelling where surgery was performed that is not resolved with pain medication or elevation of the surgical body part above the heart.

If you have any numbness or tingling (the sensation of your arm “falling asleep”) in the extremity that was operated on.

If you start feeling bad, or have a fever, chills, or shakes.

If you have redness, pus, or excessive drainage around your surgical site.

If you have leg, calf, or foot pain, redness, or swelling in either leg..

If you have pain in your chest or difficulty breathing.

If drinking fluids makes you vomit (throw up).

 

IF YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS AT ALL, GO TO THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT IMMEDIATELY