Shoulder Surgery Recovery Time

There are several common shoulder surgeries that are performed and each requires different recovery time.

Rotator Cuff Repair Recovery Time

One of the more common shoulder surgeries is rotator cuff repair.

Although this surgery done by a shoulder specialist can be done in typically in under an hour, it still requires months to recover.

Right after the surgery you need to wear a sling at all times and immobilize the shoulder except for gentle passive motion several times a day.

The rotator cuff tendons are sewn back down to the bone and if you use the shoulder and contract the muscle, you can re-tear the rotator cuff muscles right off the bone. You really to need to rest the shoulder after the surgery but need to do some gentle stretching to prevent scar tissue from forming. I typically have my patients use the sling for 5 weeks after the rotator cuff surgery but you must avoid heavy lifting even after that for about 3 months.

Simple Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery Recovery Time

For people who have a simple arthroscopic shoulder surgery with cleaning up smaller partial tears and shaving out bone spurs, only a few days in a sling is required. After this type of shoulder surgery, you can lift and use the arm much more quickly and most people are back to full activities after only a few weeks.

Labral Repair Recovery Time

Another common shoulder surgery is labral repair. This is done for unstable shoulders that have dislocated or just for shoulders that have torn this tissue. For this shoulder surgery, I keep my patients in a sling for 6 weeks. I am not as concerned with shoulder stiffness because this type of repair is typically seen in younger patients where stiffness (frozen shoulder) is less likely to develop. After this surgery, you have to avoid bringing your arm up and to the side for at least the first 2 months.

The Importance of Physical Therapy

I find physical therapy to be very important before and after shoulder surgery. Having a trained professional guide motion and strengthening while limiting the wrong activities is key to a quicker and better recovery. Shoulder surgery by a shoulder specialist requires the right treatment after the surgery to get back the best and quickest recovery possible.

If you are suffering from shoulder pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Weinstein today by calling 914-358-9700

Dr. Rick Weinstein, MD, MBA is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. He is the Director of Orthopedic Surgery at Westchester Sport and Spine and has subspecialty training in knee and shoulder surgery, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Weinstein is a Board Examiner for the American Board of Orthopedic Surgeons, determining certification for other orthopedic surgeons.