Appointments 317-208-3866

Shoulder Scope Postop Instructions

The following is an outline of instructions and information for post-operative shoulder arthroscopy. Although you may have been told different information from friends or others, please follow these instructions specifically and if you have any questions, contact Dr. Badman. These instructions pertain to most shoulder arthroscopy procedures. Occasionally your specific procedure may require slightly different instructions and iff that is the case Dr. Badman will inform you.

Pain and Swelling:

It is completely normal to experience some postoperative pain and discomfort. The severity of the pain depends on the nature of the surgery and your individual pain tolerance. Several steps have been taken to decrease early postoperative pain.

  • The anesthesiologist may have given you a nerve block (an injection in your neck), to numb your shoulder and arm. This is to help control your pain. Therefore, it is normal to experience some numbness and tingling in your arm and fingers up to approximately 18 hours after surgery. You also may not be able to move your fingers or hand which is normal and will resolve as the block wears off. The blocks typically last from 12 to 24 plus hours.


  • You may be apply ice to the shoulder over the dressing. Typically this can be done 20-30 minutes every 2 hours until the block wears off to avoid frostbite while your shoulder is numb. You may then use ice afterwards as often as necessary. Do not place the ice bag directly on the skin; make certain there is a towel or bandage between the ice bag and your shoulder. A bag of frozen peas often works very well.
  • If you still feel pain, you may take oral pain medication as prescribed for you by Dr.Badman.
  • You may take additional ibuprofen (advil, motrin, etc) up to 600-800mg every 6 hours with food in addition to the pain medication you are provided for further pain relief. YOU SHOULD NOT TAKE THIS IN ADDITION IF YOU HAVE A HISTORY OF STOMACH ULCERS OR IF YOU ARE ON BLOOD THINNERS LIKE COUMADIN OR PLAVIX. ALSO STOP IF THIS UPSETS YOUR STOMACH.
  • It is normal to experience a fair amount of swelling in your shoulder immediately after surgery. We fill your shoulder with fluid during surgery in order to perform the arthroscopy. It may take 24-48 hours or more for the fluid (and therefore, swelling) to go down. It is also normal to see bruising down your arm and into your chest from the effects of the surgical procedure. If you develop a hot, red, or excessively swollen shoulder or arm, or if you experience a feeling of cold or numbness or tingling after 18 hours please contact Dr. Badman.
  • You may experience a mild sore throat from the anesthesia, nausea, and possibly a low-grade fever (less than 101.5oF). If, however, any of these symptoms becomes excessive or your fever is above 101.5oF, please notify Dr. Badman.

Dressing Care:

Keep your dressing clean and dry. There may be some bloody spotting on the dressing initially; this is normal. Excessive bleeding that soaks the dressing must be reported to Dr. Badman.

Do not apply anything to the incisions (ointments like polysporin,etc) and only place bandaids and a clean dressing over.

Remove dressing in 2 days and apply bandaids/gauze daily until your return appointment.


You must keep your dressing clean and dry. You may sponge bathe until the first dressing change. You may purchase waterproof bandaids (any local pharmacy) after the first dressing change and place over the wounds and then may shower with them in place. Keep your arm at your side at all times while bathing.


The ABDUCTION SLING should be worn at all times until further instructed by Dr. Badman (typically 4-6wks). This includes using it while sleeping. Most patients find sleeping in a reclining chair more comfortable the first several weeks after surgery. You should start hand, elbow, and wrist range of motion exercises the 1st day after surgery to prevent stiffness. Formal physical therapy usually starts one week after surgery or earlier based on your specific procedure. Dr. Badman and staff will set this up for you. Do not move your arm in any other motion until you consult with Dr. Badman.


Clear liquids and then advance as tolerated


It is not recommended that you drive while taking narcotic medications or during the period that the immobilizer is in place.

Medications Dispensed:

Pain: ___Norco 10/325 1-2 every 4-6 hours as needed ___Percocet 10/325 1-2 every 4-6 hours as needed

Nausea: Phenergan 25mg every 6-8 hours as needed for nausea


Notify Dr. Badman immediately if any of the following occur:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Excessive non-bloody wound drainage beyond the first 3-4 days
  • Poor pain control
  • Numbness or tingling of the hand that does not resolve after 3 days
  • Fever > 101.5oF after postoperative day #3
  • Increased redness along incision
  • Calf pain or swelling
  • Any other concerns /questions

Follow Up with Dr. Badman as scheduled on the appointment card provided today

Call 317-208-3866 to verify time if unsure. After hours call 317-745-4451 and have the operator page Dr. Badman for concerns.


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