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What to Expect After a Shoulder Surgery



Shoulder surgery is a serious procedure, but following your doctor’s orders can help you recover quickly and safely. By understanding what to expect after surgery, you can be prepared for a successful recovery.

What to Expect:

After shoulder surgery, it is important to expect some pain and soreness. This is normal and will gradually improve as you heal. It is also common to have some swelling and bruising around the surgical site. Again, this should improve over time.


It is important to avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least four to six weeks after surgery. You also want to avoid reaching overhead or behind your back during this time.

You will likely be in a sling for four to six weeks after your surgery. During this time, it is important to keep your arm close to your body and avoid any unnecessary movement. Once the sling is removed, you will be able to start physical therapy to regain range of motion in your shoulder.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy will be an important part of your recovery, and you will likely need to attend several sessions per week. You can expect your shoulder to feel stiff and sore for some time after surgery, but this should gradually improve over the course of several weeks or months.


You should eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated after your surgery. Avoiding alcohol is also important during this time.


It is important to get enough rest after your surgery. You may need to sleep with pillows under your arm to keep it elevated.



You will likely be prescribed pain medication to help with any discomfort after your surgery. It is important to take this medication as directed and not to drive or operate heavy machinery while taking it.

Follow-Up Appointments

You will need to see your surgeon for follow-up appointments to ensure that your shoulder is healing properly. You will likely need to have x-rays and/or MRIs during these appointments.

The road to recovery after shoulder surgery can be long, but with patience and dedication, you will eventually get back to your normal activities. It is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions and attend all recommended physical therapy appointments to ensure a successful outcome.

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