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  • Take 1-2 tablets every 4-6 hours as needed for
    • Oxycodone
    • Hydrocodone / Tylenol
    • Dilaudid
  • Take Tylenol 650 mg every 6 hours or 1,000 mg every 8 hours as needed for pain (okay to take with oxycodone).
  • Use your medicine liberally over the first 48 hours, and then you can begin to taper your use. You may take Extra Strength Tylenol (max of 3,000 mg a day) or Tylenol only in place of the pain pills. Do not take additional Tylenol if you are taking Percocet, Norco, or Vicodin (these medications already have Tylenol in it).
  • Take an over the counter stool softener such as Colace. This medication is routinely used as pain medicines can be very constipating. Please take as directed unless you experience loose stools or diarrhea.
  • Take one aspirin (81 mg), once a day for 2 weeks after surgery, unless you have an aspirin sensitivity/allergy or asthma. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) medications (Ibuprofen, Motrin, Aleve, Naprosyn, Etodolac, etc) may be used instead of aspirin if you have no contraindication (kidney failure, gastric ulcers, etc).
  • If you take a blood thinner such as Coumadin or Warfarin, take this medication as directed by your medical clearance physician. DO NOT TAKE COUMADIN AND ASPIRIN.
  • Resume your normal medications as recommended by your primary care physician


  • Resume a regular diet as soon as possible. It is advisable to start with clear liquids until nausea is gone.

Sling / Brace

  • Use the sling / brace for several days until the discomfort has decreased and then discontinue.
  • Use the sling / brace until your next office
  • Remove the sling / brace to allow your arm and elbow to straighten at your side 3-4 times a day for 15-20 minutes at a time.


  • Increase your general activity level as the effects of the anesthetic medications have worn off and your strength improves.
  • Remain in your shoulder sling or brace as instructed above. This includes sleeping in your sling
  • Place a pillow behind the elbow when resting either reclined or flat, this generally helps with shoulder pain
  • You may start pendulum range of motion exercises as instructed by your physician on postop day number 3. First remove the sling, then lean forward and move the shoulder in gentle circular motions with your arm as relaxed as possible. Gradually enlarge the circular motions. These should be performed for roughly 90 seconds clockwise and then counter clockwise 3 times. Perform these exercises 3 times per day
  • You may release the shoulder strap portion of your sling to allow your elbow to straighten several times per day. Start this the day after surgery
  • Do not actively (on your own) lift your operative arm away from the side of the body or reach behind your back until cleared by your physician

Dressing Care

  • Remove the shoulder dressing on post operative day 2 for arthroscopic surgeries. There are white strips over your incisions; do not remove these. If you had a pain catheter placed in your neck prior to surgery, remove both the shoulder dressing and the catheter on post operative day #3.
  • You may begin to shower on post-operative day 3 and quickly pat the wounds dry. Leave the incisions open to air. Do not remove white strips over wounds
  • Simply allow the water to wash over the site and then pat dry. Do not rub the incisions. Make sure your axilla (armpit) is completely dry after showering
  • Slight wound drainage is common. If noted, please cover with small bandages (Band-Aids) until the drainage stops.
  • If you had an open surgery, Do NOT remove dressing until follow-up. Leave clear plastic dressing in place you may shower directly over this water-proof dressing
  • Bruising of the shoulder and the upper arm are common after surgery
  • Ice is very important after shoulder surgery and should be used continuously over the dressing / towel for the first 3 days. Following dressing removal, use the ice 3 times per day for 45 minutes, especially before night time. You may use either ice packs or a large frozen bag of vegetables that can be broken up and molded to the shoulder and reused. Avoid ice directly placed on the skin.

Follow Up

  • Generally, a follow up appointment has been made for you at the time of surgery. You can call the office to confirm your appointment
  • Bring the copy of your arthroscopic pictures to your follow up appointment.
  • Notify our office if you have any of the following:
    • Fever over 101.5 degrees
    • Excessive blood on your dressing
    • Numbness or tingling in your arm or hand that was not present before surgery and has lasted more than 24 hours
    • Drainage from any incision that last longer than 4 days following surgery
  • American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons
  • New England Shoulder and Elbow Society
  • Boston Sports & Shoulder Center
  • Tufts University