How will I feel after my surgery?

  • You may feel slightly nauseated, light headed, dizzy, or sleepy for 24 hours after an anaesthetic.
  • You may have a slight temperature for 2 days.
  • It is normal to have a slightly red swollen incision.
  • It is normal to have a small amount of oozing, pink to dark red, from your incision.

When to call your doctor:

  • You have fever of 101º F (38.3ºC) or higher.
  • You have bright red bleeding from you incision
  • You have more than a small amount of swelling around your incision.
  • You have changes in your circulation, such as a change in colour from normal to white or blue, or persistent numbness or tingling in the operative arm.
  • You develop an infection, e.g., increased redness, swelling and pain at your incision and/or you develop a “smelly” discharge.
  • You develop nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea that persists after 24 hours.

If you cannot contact your doctor, go to the nearest Emergency Department.

For 24 hours after your surgery DO NOT:

  • Drive a vehicle.
  • Operate heavy equipment.
  • Drink alcoholic beverages.
  • Smoke.
  • Make any important decisions.

DO have a responsible adult stay with you for 24 hours.

What can I eat after surgery?

  • Eat light foods for the first day – tea, toast, soup, Jell-O®.
  • Drink extra fluids.
  • If you are diabetic, follow your doctors orders for diet & medication.

Activity & Restrictions

  • Continue to walk and increase activity daily.
  • Continue to open/close your hand and bend your wrist.
  • Do not reach, push, pull, or lift after surgery.
  • Keep immobilizer or sling in place as instructed.
  • Remove the sling to move your elbow 2-3 times per day. Keep your upper arm close to your body when doing this.
  • Perform exercises as instructed by your doctor and physio-therapist.


  • Your surgeon will tell you when you may have a bath or shower.


  • Pain medications will be administered to keep you comfortable.
  • You may have a small catheter inserted into the shoulder joint that is connected to a pain pump. The pump administers pain medications as prescribed by your surgeon. You may take any prescribed painkillers while the pain pump is in place.
  • Resume all medications as taken before the surgery unless otherwise indicated by your doctor.

Surgical Area:

  • Keep area clean and dry.
  • If the incision opens up, cover with a clean dressing and call your surgeon.
  • If you start to have bright red bleeding that soaks through your dressing, cover with a clean cloth, apply pressure with your hand, and call your surgeon.
  • If you have stitches, your surgeon will tell you if & when they should be removed.
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