5 Questions You Need To Ask Before You Have Shoulder Surgery

Each year over 250,000 people in the U.S. alone undergo shoulder surgery. Those who do so include individuals with acute shoulder pain or injury that has severely diminished their everyday functionality without having to contend with some kind of nagging pain. Healthcare providers say shoulder surgery can make a big difference in your ability to retrieve that function, and return to work and play.


Patients are often worried because the shoulder is the most complex and unstable joint in the body and can get injured easily. Many surgeries have been developed to repair the muscles, connective tissue, or damaged joints that can arise from traumatic or overuse injuries to the shoulder.

If shoulder surgery is what you have to do, then check out these 5 questions you should ask before having shoulder surgery.

1. How long will I be out?
The actual surgery takes one to two hours, depending on what needs to be done. Patients typically spend a night or two in the hospital for pain control. Most arthroscopic shoulder surgery patients recover quickly. New minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques and improved instrumentation have allowed doctors to quicken the recovery process. Most surgeries are performed on an outpatient basis. The amount of time you will need to recover depends on the procedure and on your preoperative physical conditioning.

2. What About Rehabilitation?
Rehabilitation begins 1 to 4 days following surgery. The first session is to change your operative dressing and to come up with a plan for your treatment. Surgeons often encourage their patients to move their shoulders immediately after surgery. They say you will be able to move your arm in some directions under your own strength. Remember that surgeons had to cut through certain muscles and re-attach them at surgery. They do not want you to use those muscles until they have healed. Following a specific rehabilitation program with a physical therapist usually means a two to three month rehabilitation, depending on the patient.

3. Does it Matter What Medications I’m taking? It does. It is important that your healthcare provider know what medications you are taking. Your list should include the name of the medication, the dosage of the medication, how many times you take the medication, and at what time you take the medication.

4, Should I Alert My Primary Doctor?
Yes. You may need an EKG to check the condition of your heart, schedule lab work and maybe have an X-ray.

5. What If I Don’t Make it to My Doctor?
Then the surgery will be postponed. Preoperative clearance is vital to go forward with the surgery. In fact, if you fail your clearance test from your primary doctor, the operation will not be scheduled until you do.



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