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Shoulder Arthroscopy


Shoulder arthroscopy is a surgery to examine or repair your damaged or diseased shoulder joint.



  • Pain medicine: You may be given a prescription medicine to decrease pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take this medicine.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Follow up with your primary healthcare provider or orthopedic surgeon as directed:

You will need to return to have your shoulder checked and stitches removed. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Wound care:

  • Wash your hands before and after you care for your incision wound. This will help prevent an infection.
  • Carefully wash the wound as directed. Dry the area and put on new, clean bandages as directed. Change your bandages when they get wet or dirty.
  • If you have steri-strips (thin strips of tape) over the wound, do not pull them off. Let them fall off by themselves.
  • Keep the stitches clean and dry. Do not trim or shorten the ends of your stitches. If they are rubbing on your clothing, you can put a soft gauze bandage between the stitches and your clothes.


  • Use ice: Ice helps decrease swelling and pain. Ice may also help prevent tissue damage. Use an ice pack, or put crushed ice in a plastic bag. Cover it with a towel and place it on your shoulder for 15 to 20 minutes every hour or as directed.
  • Use an arm sling or a brace as directed: You may need to wear a sling or brace to keep your shoulder close to your body and keep it from moving. This may help your shoulder heal faster and be more comfortable. Wear your sling or brace all the time, even while you sleep, until you are told it is okay to remove it. You can remove your sling or brace to bathe.
  • Ask about bathing: Do not let your affected shoulder get wet unless your primary healthcare provider says it is okay. Ask your primary healthcare provider when you can bathe or swim.
  • Limit activities: Do not use your arm to lift, pull, or push. Ask when you can return to sports or physical activity.


  • Home exercises: After your surgery, you may be asked to do light and easy exercises at first. Do not bend forward from the waist or stretch your arm across your chest in front. Do not stretch your arm behind your back. You may be able to do more as you get stronger and as the pain decreases. Follow exercise instructions from your primary healthcare provider or orthopedic surgeon.
  • Physical therapy: A physical therapist can teach you safe exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.

Contact your primary healthcare provider or orthopedic surgeon if:

  • You have a fever.
  • You have pain and swelling in your shoulder even after you take your medicines.
  • Your skin is itchy, swollen, or has a rash.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have chest pain or shortness of breath.
  • You fall and injure your shoulder.
  • Blood soaks through your bandage.
  • Any part of your arm is numb, tingly, cool to the touch, blue, or pale.
  • Your incision wounds are swollen, red, or have pus coming from them.
  • Your stitches come apart.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.