You will usually be in hospital either for a day or overnight. Your consultant or physiotherapist will see you prior to discharge and you will be taught exercises to do and given further advice to guide you through your recovery. You will be given a sling. This is required for up to 3-4 weeks. You should avoid forced straightening of the elbow or heavy lifting for at least six weeks. You can expect to be back at work between 6-10 weeks depending on your job. Your symptoms should be approximately 80% better after three months but may take 6-12 months to totally settle.
A supplementary local anaesthetic or nerve block is often used during the operation which means that immediately after the operation the shoulder and arm may feel numb. This may last a few hours. After this the shoulder may well be sore and you will be given painkillers to help this whilst in hospital. These can be continued after you are discharged home. Ice packs may also help reduce pain. Wrap frozen peas or crushed ice in a damp, cold cloth and place on the shoulder for up to 20 minutes.
Wearing a sling:
You will return from theatre wearing a sling. This is required for up to four weeks, to allow the repair to heal. You should avoid forced straightening of the elbow or heavy lifting for at least six weeks.
After leaving hospital you should exercise the arm frequently throughout the day. The arm may feel sore whilst you are doing the exercises but there should be no intense or lasting pain. Aim for two exercise sessions per day. Your physiotherapist will advise you regarding the exercises prior to discharge.
There will be no stitches (or absorbable ones) only small sticking plaster strips over the wounds. These should be kept dry until healed. This usually takes 5-7 days.
You may begin driving 4-5 weeks after your operation.
Returning to work:
This will depend on your occupation. If you are in a sedentary job you may return as soon as you feel able, usually after one week. If your job involves heavy lifting or using your arm above shoulder height you may require a longer period of absence (eight weeks).
You should avoid sustained, repetitive overhead activities or activities involving forced elbow extension for three months. Golf can begin at twelve weeks. For guidance on DIY and racquet sports you should speak with your physiotherapist
Follow up Appointment:
You will be made a follow up appointment at the hospital around three weeks after your surgery. At this stage you will be reviewed by your consultant who will check your progress, make sure you are moving your arm properly, and give you further exercises as appropriate.