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5 Tips to Prepare for Shoulder Surgery

Updated: May 11, 2023

  1. Check all of your medications with your doctor

  2. Have a friend or family member stay with you

  3. Organize a ride to the places you need to go

  4. Prepare your home including the kitchen, bathroom and bedroom

  5. Prepare your wardrobe

Having shoulder surgery is a big deal. There are a few steps you'll want to take to prepare yourself for when you come home from surgery.

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Check all of your medications with your doctor

Undergoing any surgery most likely requires different medications than you normally take. Most orthopedic surgeries involve going under general anesthesia which can have a major impact on how you feel and can interact with medications that you are taking. The post-operative medications (pain relievers, NSAID's, anti-biotics) can also interact with various different medications. It is vital that you communicate with your primary care doctor, pharmacist, and surgeon prior to undergoing surgery to assess the risk of an adverse effect from medication.

It is also helpful to have a 30 day supply of all prescription medication that you will need prior to undergoing surgery. For the first month it can be difficult to get around as you will most likely not be able to drive. Stock up on your necessary meds beforehand to be prepared!

Have a friend or family member stay with you

It is probably a good idea to have someone else around for the first 2-7 days after surgery. You will feel out of it from the anesthesia and your arm will be in a sling and wrapped in gauze. Having someone around to help is crucial.

Driving after shoulder surgery

While you are in a sling, you should not operate a vehicle. Driving in a sling can be very dangerous. If you were to get pulled over or in an accident, your insurance company may not cover any damages or expenses because you were driving recklessly. Have a way to arrange rides for the first 2-6 weeks after surgery. Uber and best friends are great for this!

Here is more information: Driving in a sling

Preparing your home for surgery:

Prepare your kitchen:
  • Cook food before surgery that you can easily reheat in the microwave

  • Move dishes, plates, etc to lower cabinets so you don't have to reach overhead with one arm

Prepare your bedroom/closet:
  • Move your clothes to an easily accessible place either in the closet or dresser

  • Move furniture that may be in the way

  • Sleeping is typically difficult after surgery. Check out the Shoulder Sleeper Pillow to protect your shoulder while you sleep!

Prepare your bathroom:
  • For the first few days after shoulder surgery, you should keep the incisions clean and dry. Have a way to cover your bandages/incisions easily ready.

  • Having a removeable shower head can make a big difference

  • Move the shampoo, conditioner, etc to a lower level shelf in the shower

  • Get used to brushing your teeth with the non-surgical arm

Prepare your wardrobe

  • Have your comfy clothes ready-- Elastic waistbands will be your best friend!

  • Velcro shoes-- It will difficult to tie your shoes after surgery. Slippers are not recommended because they may increase the risk of falling.

  • Use button up or zip up shirts to make it easier to get your surgical arm into the shirt

Follow these tips so that you are prepared for shoulder surgery!


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