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Arthroscopy is a way to find problems and do surgery inside a joint without making a large cut (incision). Your doctor put a lighted tube with a tiny camera—called an arthroscope, or scope—and surgical tools through small incisions in your shoulder.
Your arm may be in a sling. You will feel tired for several days. Your shoulder will be swollen. And you may notice that your skin is a different colour near the cuts the doctor made (incisions). Your hand and arm may also be swollen. This is normal and will go away in a few days. Depending on the medicine you had during the surgery, your entire arm may feel numb or like you can't move it. This goes away in 12 to 24 hours.
How soon you can go back to work or your usual routine will depend on your shoulder problem. Most people need 6 weeks or longer to recover. How much time you need depends on the surgery that was done. You may have to limit your activity until your shoulder strength and range of motion are back to normal. You may also be in a rehabilitation program (rehab).
If you have a desk job, you may be able to go back to work a few days after the surgery. If you lift things at work, it may take months before you can go back.
This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to get better as quickly as possible.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 9, 2022
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Robert B. Keller MD - Orthopedics
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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