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After Shoulder Surgery (SLAP Repair or Bankart Repair)

After repair of your shoulder joint, you may go home the same day of your surgery. Or you may spend 24 hours in the hospital. Take care of your shoulder while it’s healing and follow all instructions you are given. Full healing usually takes three to four months.

In the Hospital:

  • After your surgery, your incision or incisions will be closed with sutures, staples, or surgical tape. Your shoulder is covered with a dressing.

  • Your arm will be put in a sling or a brace to immobilize it.

  • Pain medication may be delivered through a soft tube (catheter) directly into the joint for a short time.

At Home:

Arm in sling

  • Wear your sling or brace at all times, except when bathing or changing clothes. When your arm is out of the immobilizer, keep it at your side.

  • You will need to wear your sling or brace for three to four weeks.

  • Do not get your bandages or the incision(s) wet. You can change your bandages after three days. Replace the bandages with a clean gauze dressing. Do not touch your incision.

  • Take your pain medications as prescribed. If the medications don’t control the pain, call your health care provider.

  • Use ice on your shoulder, as instructed. Ice your shoulder for no more than 15 minutes at a time.

  • See your health care provider for an appointment seven to 10 days after surgery. During this appointment, your sutures or staples will be removed, if you have them.

  • You will continue to have follow-up visits until your shoulder is healed. Keep these appointments to help ensure your shoulder heals properly.

  • Do not drive until you are no longer taking prescription pain medications and your doctor says it’s okay, no sooner than two weeks after surgery.



Call Your Doctor If You Have:

  • An increase in pain or swelling. 

  • Your arm tingles or feels numb.

  • You have a fever over 101 degrees Fahrenheit (38.3 degrees Celsius) or chills.

  • Your shoulder bleeds excessively or drains.

After surgery, you will be given exercises to do. You will be instructed to start certain range-of-motion exercises right after surgery. After the sling is removed, you will be given other exercises to help with the flexibility and strength of your shoulder and arm. In some cases, you may be referred to a physical therapist for rehabilitation.


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