Shoulder Arthroscopy Instruction Sheet

For a printable PDF version of the instructions, click here. Dr. Solberg’s Office Number is 213-455-8448 This information should be useful after your shoulder surgery. Please read this information carefully. You will receive further instructions at your next visit. The following items cover what to expect and what to do for the first week after surgery.

Expect your shoulder to be quite stiff and sore for the first few days. Keep your arm in the sling most of the time. You may take the sling off to wash. Take your arm out of the sling a couple of times a day and bend and straighten your elbow. This will help improve your motion. Squeeze and relax your fist often to improve circulation.

Apply ice to your shoulder for the first 48 hours after surgery. Wrap the ice in two bags to avoid getting the bandage wet. You may use ice packs longer if they help the pain. If you have a cold pack set up, make sure it is filled with ice water. You should expect some swelling in your hand and fingers on the affected side as well as some bruising in the arm and chest area, this is normal. This will subside when you begin to move your arm more.

Many patients have a block or regional anesthetic for pain control after surgery. This produces numbness in the involved arm and is very good at relieving pain after surgery. The block lasts 12-24 hours before it wears off, which can occur fairly quickly. The first sign the block is wearing off is tingling in your fingers, the same type of feeling you get when you lay on your hand and it “falls aspleep”. It is very important to have pain medication in your system when the block is wearing off. I recommend patient take an extra dose of medication as soon as they feel tingling beginning to start in the hand.

Take your pain medication as directed by your prescription. Do not wait until the pain is intolerable to take the medication. It will take between 30-60 minutes to begin working, so take it accordingly. In addition to your perscribed medication, you can combine it with Advil or Aleve for additive or “synergistic” effect ( the effect of the two medications together may be more than the individual medications). Over the counter Advil or Aleve work as well as prescription medication and can be taken safely in conjunction with your prescription. If you want to combine you prescription with Advil or Motrin, take 3 tablets (600 mg) three times a day, if you are using Aleve (naproxen) take two tablets (440 mg) twice a day. Make sure you take these medications with food to avoid stomach upset. Take the bandage off after 3 days. The incisions may continue to ooze a small amount. Leave the tape strips on the wounds. Don’t pull the tape strips off and don’t soa the incision are under water. You may take a shower after 3 days and get the incision wet. Take your shower first then remove the bandage.

Begin to gently move your shoulder as soon as you can. Your motion should improve a little bit every day. Start by removing your arm from the sling and leaning over a table, allowing your arm to hang free. Gently begin drawing circles with your arm, first in one direction then the other. Each day try to increase the size of these circles. Do these exercises 2-3 times a day.


You should start doing these exercises within 1-2 days of surgery. Start slowly and do these exercises 2-3 times per day for roughly 5 minutes each session

Call Dr. Solberg’s Office if you notice any of the following symptoms.

You may be connected with an associate if you are calling in the evening hours. Have your discharge orders and description of your procedure available.

  • Temperature over 101o Fahrenheit
  • Persistent numbness in your hand
  • Increasing, severe pain in the shoulder
  • Increasing redness around the incisions

You have been prescribed pain medication which has a number of side effects. Most common are drowsiness, nausea and or vomiting, itching, constipation and irritability. If these are prolonged or severe, your pain medication may need to be changed. You must contact our office during business hours to have a prescription refilled or a new prescription dispensed. After hours (after 5:00 pm or weekends), the on call doctor will not give you a refill or a new pain medication prescription.