Outpatient surgery is any type of surgery performed in a clinical setting without an overnight stay in hospital. Also known as ambulatory surgery or day surgery, outpatient surgery can cover a number of procedures, including shoulder surgery.
Arthroscopic surgery is a type of shoulder surgery usually performed in an outpatient setting. Depending on the individual case, arthroscopic surgery will involve some level of diagnosis and repairing of structural damage within the shoulder joint.
Examples of outpatient shoulder surgery include rotator cuff repair, bone spur removal, SLAP tears, dislocated joint repair, tendon repair, bursitis or frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). However, the question still lingers – how long is outpatient shoulder surgery recovery time?
What’s the Expected Recovery Time for Outpatient Shoulder Surgery?
Outpatient shoulder surgery recovery time will depend on the extent of damage, type of surgery performed and the measures undertaken by the patient to aid healing.
Surgery for a rotator cuff repair can be completed with shoulder arthroscopy, which involves small incisions. Patients may be given either general or local anesthesia to prevent pain. After surgery, incisions are stitched together and covered with a dressing. There are also a handful of rotator cuff surgery recovery exercises that can help to aide in discomfort post-surgery.
An outpatient surgeon tends to use very fine surgical instruments to make tiny incision. This allows for faster recovery time and less pain than may be the case in more complex surgeries.
After the procedure, you will be required to rest in the recovery room for a few hours being allowed to go home. You will be given pain medication and nurses will check your vital signs.
Recovery from outpatient shoulder surgery is usually much faster than large-scale surgeries. However, it may be some weeks before your shoulder is fully functional.
What To Expect During Recovery
Outpatient shoulder surgery recovery time can be affected by a variety of factors. Pain and discomfort is normal, and can be treated with pain medication. These are also designed to speed healing and help you recover more quickly.
An ice pack may also help to relieve swelling and bring down any inflammation. In the days following surgery, you may find it uncomfortable to lie flat on your back. While this shouldn’t affect recovery time, it will help with comfort to prop yourself up on pillows. If accessible, a reclining chair may also suit some patients in the days after shoulder surgery.
Because the incisions made during outpatient shoulder surgery are likely to be very small, you may be able to change your large dressing for smaller ones, like band-aids. You should also be able to shower as normal, provided you don’t get soap in the wounds.
Getting Back To Health
Your surgeon will provide you with a range of activities to rehabilitate your shoulder at home. These exercises help to shorten recovery time and regain strength and mobility to your shoulder joint. The type of exercises you are required to do will depend on the extent of your surgery. It’s highly important that these are adhered to as per your surgeon’s instruction.
Every patient is different, so there is no set recovery time. Minor repairs, however, should allow you to return to work or other activities within a few days of surgery.
More complicated procedures may mean that your outpatient shoulder surgery recovery time is somewhat longer. In some cases, it may be several months before the shoulder is fully recovered. Of course, the best way to ensure the fastest healing is to follow your surgeon’s advice.