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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.
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.
You will have sutures (stitches) and a bandage on your shoulder. You may be able to take off the bandage in about 3 days, or when your doctor tells you. Your arm will also be in a sling for at least 1 week and maybe as long as 6 weeks. You may take the sling off when you dress or wash and during rehabilitation (rehab). If the sutures are not the type that dissolve, your doctor will take them out 7 to 10 days after your surgery.
You will need rehab. This will probably start 1 to 2 weeks after your surgery and last for 4 to 6 months.
You may be able to do easier daily activities in 2 to 3 weeks. Most people who work at desk jobs can go back to work at this time. If you lift, push, or pull at work, you will probably need 3 to 4 months off.
Most people can start activities with low risk of shoulder injury in about 3 months. This includes jogging and lifting light weights. If you play sports, then training may also start at this time. Most baseball or softball players can start a program to toss a ball lightly. It may take about 6 months to return to normal throwing. How long it takes depends on how damaged your shoulder was and how well your rehab goes.
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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