Recovery: Shoulder & Elbow Surgery

What should patients expect following shoulder or elbow surgery? Of course, the answer to this question varies from patient to patient and operation to operation; however, there are certain elements of the recovery process which shoulder and elbow patients of all types can anticipate.

For most post-surgical patients, a personal recovery plan will be designed. This will typically include physical therapy, including strength building exercises and targeted stretches, pain management, monitoring for any possible complications, and the gradual reintroduction of activity. Proper care of the affected arm will be necessary, too, and may involve wearing a splint, brace, or sling to limit motion and promote healing.

The exact timeline of the recovery process is again contingent upon the type of surgery that was performed. Some surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis, while others require a short hospital stay. Following at-home recovery, many patients will be able to return to routine activities and work within weeks; however, high-impact activities and athletics will likely need to be strictly avoided for a longer period of time to prevent further injury.

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