This is the immediate postoperative period. Before your operation you will have spoken to your anaesthetist, and he will have explained - if this is necessary in your case - that he will give you a nerve block before your operation to control the pain. This involves inserting a local anaesthetic close to the nerve bundle that supplies the arm and shoulder to be operated on, thus ensuring that the arm remains pain-free during and after the operation. This pain treatment immediately after the operation is very important.
Having relaxed muscles and a correctly positioned arm are key factors.
When you come round from your anaesthetic your arm may be positioned on a cushioned abduction splint. This wedge holds the arm slightly away from the body, thereby preventing excessive tension on the operated tissues and also any prohibited movements during the initial postoperative period.
In other shoulder operations the arm is secured to the body in an "Ortho-Gilet", a special immobilising sling with Velcro fastenings.
The postoperative period will differ depending on the particular operation. Since what may prove beneficial to one shoulder can harm another, it is very important that you discuss your subsequent physiotherapy with your surgeon and not with "just anybody".
Most shoulder operations involve a hospital stay of around a week. Wound healing, starting passive physiotherapy and learning to use a motorised Arthromot splint without assistance are all important factors during this period.
During your hospital stay you should also discuss any further questions you may have with your surgeon. The nursing staff will also be able to give you some valuable tips on rehabilitation at home. When you are discharged from the hospital, you should be aware of the follow-up process and should have been given an appointment to see your surgeon again.
Since surgical treatment of shoulders is a time-consuming process that starts with the operation and continues throughout physiotherapy, patients must have a clear idea about the whole process and know who to contact if they encounter problems. The first people to contact are always your surgeon, physiotherapist and GP.
When you return home, you will continue the passive exercises six to ten times day for 15 to 30 minutes a time. Patients who require a cushioned abduction splint will be given a plastic-coated wedge for use in the shower at home.