What to know before going into the OR for shoulder surgery

Shoulder surgery is one of the most common types of surgery in the U.S. According to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about 53,000 people in the United States have shoulder replacement surgery each year. In addition to that, around 200,000 Americans undergo rotator cuff repair surgery and another 400,000 have surgery to fix partial rotator cuff tears or tendonitis.

It doesn’t change the fact that going into an operation can be nerve-racking. But when you are faced with nagging pain every time you wash your hair, chop veggies for dinner or turn the steering wheel, it’s time to make the operation a priority.

Here’s what you need to know as you prepare for shoulder surgery.

How to Prepare For Surgery

The type of shoulder surgery will vary depending on the severity and location of your injury.  One option is open surgery, the traditional method where an incision made so the surgeon can access the full site during the operation. Other shoulder surgeries are done arthroscopically—where a minimally invasive scope and surgical instruments are inserted through a handful of small incisions. Whether you are having a simple procedure for a small repair or a full shoulder replacement surgery, all of these procedures are frequently performed across the country every day! Still, it’s natural to be nervous.

In the weeks leading up to your shoulder surgery, it is important to discuss any concerns you have with your surgeon. From questions about the operation to your medical history and any anxieties leading up to the surgery, nothing is off-limits here. Find comfort in knowing that you are working with an experienced professional.

Things to Keep in Mind On the Day Of Surgery

On the day of your procedure, make sure you’re keeping the lines of communication open between you, your loved ones and the surgical team. If you’re feeling anxious or apprehensive about any part of the operation, feel free to ask about what to expect from the team.

Also, be sure to address any physical discomfort you’re having with your doctor. From feeling chilly before surgery (operating rooms are kept cool to help prevent against infection) to bringing up any day-of issues you’re having, it is best to give your surgical team all the information they need to help ensure your comfort and the success of the procedure.

Shoulder Surgery for Women

Because of the position of shoulder surgery, female patients are often worried about being uncovered on the operating table. If you’re concerned about what bra to wear for shoulder surgery, talk to your doctor about wearing a surgical bra that can be safely worn during the operation. Modicine PatientWear is made of surgical-grade, antimicrobial fabric, and can be safely worn during surgery and during the recovery phase. Post-surgery, it will be very difficult to take a bra on and off, so the supportive band of the Modesty Bra will make those days post-surgery more comfortable.

What to Expect During Recovery

Recovery time for shoulder surgery varies and depends on the type of operation. You’ll likely be back to normal activities like driving and cooking just a few days after an arthroscopic subacromial decompression. With a shoulder replacement, expect a much longer healing process—it may take months to get back to daily activities like washing the dishes and folding laundry.

Regardless of the type of shoulder surgery you have, you will likely be in a sling for a certain amount of time following surgery. However, by resting, applying cold compression and following your doctor’s post-operative care instructions, you will be well on your way to recovery and finally free from the constant pain you felt prior to surgery.

As with any healthcare procedure, it is important to advocate for yourself. If something doesn’t feel right, speak up, or ask to speak with someone you feel more comfortable with and have them talk to the team on your behalf.