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How to Prepare for Shoulder Surgery

Oct 9, 2014

The shoulder joint is exceptionally vulnerable to being injured and obtaining arthritis. When the traditional treatments do not work, or nor longer work, shoulder surgery may ensure that you regain strength and movement. Before shoulder surgery, you will need to prepare for the procedure.

Learn What to Expect

Talk to your doctor about what you should expect to experience before, during, and after the surgery. Ask what the process is for hospital admittance, the type of anesthesia you will receive, and how long you will be in the hospital. Also, ask about the recovery period and pain management following surgery. Now is when you need to voice your concerns.

Assemble Medical and Personal Information

In the lead up to your surgery, you will be asked about medical history, insurance, and legal arrangements. There will be repetition in the questions, so it will make it easier for you and others if you create a thorough record of personal and medical information to help speed the process and ensure that you provide all the essential information, including:

  • Any medical conditions or health problems, such, asthma, diabetes, blood issues, anemia, or high blood pressure.
  • Names and contact details for all the doctors you are currently seeing and the reasons.
  • The name of the person who will attend your doctor appointments, hospital stay, and help remember care instructions.
  • All previous operations; even those not related to your current issues.
  • All medications, vitamin and mineral supplements or other over-the-counter medications taken on a regular basis; include the dosage and frequency.
  • All past allergies or adverse reactions that you have experienced with drugs or anesthesia. Include the name of the medication or anesthesia, when and why you were given this, and describe your reaction.
  • All dietary restrictions and food allergies. This is very important as certain medications are created using, or are related to, known allergens.
  • Your insurance details.
  • Any advance directives you have in place, and be sure to bring a copy of your legal documents to the hospital.

Prepare Your Body for Surgery

Being in the best physical condition you can be prior to surgery will lower the chance of complications and speed recovery. Your doctor will be able to tell you what this entails for you, such as issues with smoking, diet, weight, alcohol, and exercises to do before and after surgery. Notify your doctor if you come down with a fever, cold or any other illness in the week before the surgery.

Plan for Your Release

Your recovery will take several weeks, but you can make your recovery time at home more comfortable and safer. Arrange to have someone drive you home and stay with you for several days after release. Consider what you will eat; either cook double and freeze half for a couple of weeks before surgery, or fill your freezer with ready-made, easy-to-heat meals. Place any items you need or use frequently at waist height on counters and sink areas, in the shower, near where you will spend most of your recovery, where you sit in the living room and by your bed. This will ensure you do not need to raise your arm higher than your surgeon has recommended.

If you live alone, or have special needs, you may want to consider going to a rehabilitation facility following discharge for recovery and rehabilitation. Talk this option over with your doctors, and check with your insurance coverage to find out if such a stay is covered, or if you will have any out-of-pocket expense. In most cases, your insurance should cover at least part of your stay in a rehabilitation facility.

Contact us at Premier Orthopaedics to have any other questions answered! We have a few different locations for your convenience. For more information on shoulder surgery, download our free eBook, The Pre-Operative Guide to Shoulder Surgery.