Rotator Cuff Surgery – Be prepared for a long hard recovery regime

November 12, 2012

Rotator Cuff Surgery – Be prepared for a long hard recovery regime

The shoulder is a very versatile joint. It can allow arms to move in almost any direction and it is this versatility that contributes to its likelihood of being injured during sport or other recreational activities. Rotator cuff injury is perhaps one of the most common types of shoulder injury and normally the condition requires either shoulder dislocation surgery or rotator cuff surgery to rectify the problem.

The hard physical work required by the patient after rotator cuff surgery is considerable. Building the muscles in the region takes hard graft and the patient may find the course of exercise given by the physical therapist after rotator cuff surgery both time consuming and strenuous. Using weights or resistance exercises to strengthen the shoulder muscles is standard practice.

Before any rotator cuff surgery takes place the doctor will warn the patient about the intensity of the regime and to gain the benefit from the surgery then the patient must be willing to work hard.

As with any type of surgery there are risks involved. Possible issues can involve excess bleeding, or infection leading to fever but these occur only in a very few cases but perhaps your surgeon will make you aware of the symptoms before surgery to ensure that you can bring it to the notice of the nursing staff quickly if you feel anything is not right.

Rotator cuff surgery is the same as most types of surgery in that the patient will be in pain for a day or two and the correct type and amount of pain killing medication is required. Some people feel severe pain whilst for others the pain may only be moderate. Rotator cuff surgery has the additional complication that after having the procedure carried out the patient must keep their arm in a sling. This means that finding a restful position is often very difficult and so sleep is not always possible for the first night. Trying to find the patient a suitable relaxed position whilst he or she remains semi reclining should be one of the nursing staff’s priorities after surgery.

The recovery process then progresses with passive exercise. The physical therapist will give guidance to the patient on how to gently move the shoulder area without putting pressure on the wound. After a few days the doctor can confirm that the healing process is going to plan. It is now that the patient can move their arm but movements must still be gentle and controlled without putting any pressure on the area of surgery.

As we progress after the rotator cuff surgery more hard work is required. A standard recovery regime can include only moving the arm in certain ways for 4 to 6 months. Unlike many other surgeries recovery from rotator cuff surgery requires close contact with the doctor and physical therapist and a lot of damage can be done if instructions are not followed.

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