Committing time, effort, care, and patience to your recovery helps move the healing process along.

While a recovery timeline of 6 to 12 months is generally predicted, your overall health, the specifics of your surgery, post-surgery activities and therapy all contribute to the speed of your recovery.


What happens when I wake up from surgery?

When surgery is complete a patient is moved to the recovery room. This can be for an hour or two, sometimes longer. Trained staff monitor your vitals and responses as you regain consciousness. Feeling sleepy or slightly disoriented is common.

You receive instructions outlining your general recovery care. Please follow these instructions when you return home to facilitate healing. (Any points you can’t recall during post-op is generally in the discharge documentation.)


Going home

You are likely to be wearing a sling when leaving the hospital. Have clothes on hand that easily accommodate this requirement. Do not drive, no matter how well you feel. Anaesthetic and painkillers can reduce reflexes and impair judgment.

Take care to avoid elevating, stretching, leaning, pushing, pulling, and lifting. Contact a medical professional if you experience excessive pain, or signs of infection. These include a fever, and wounds that weep or change colour.


Motion timeline

Keeping your shoulder immobile for 4-6 weeks post-surgery is recommended in most cases. A physical therapist focuses on careful limited motion for a few months, depending on the individual, followed by a few months of controlled strengthening.


Passive Physical Therapy

Following your surgery in most cases it’s helpful to work with a physical therapist. The focus is on helping your shoulders’ range of motion improve. A physical therapist knows how to balance the healing process with increased movement.

The term passive therapy is used to describe rehabilitation practices that are primarily carried out by your physical therapist. They will help move your body, avoiding any risk of overexertion on your part during this early stage.


Active Physical Therapy

A physical therapist transitions your exercise to more vigorous stretching once you heal from the surgery itself. Active physical therapy means you are now active and exerting effort during physical therapy.

Following the advice of your physical therapist is imperative. You gain increased strength and mobility while avoiding injury. A well-maintained physical therapy regime offers long-term benefits for your shoulder.


Common mistakes

Keep wearing the sling till advised otherwise. Wait for the all clear to drive, and take care to sleep in a way that won’t aggravate recovery. Don’t try to catch or grab a falling object. Follow your physical therapist’s instructions.


Ongoing maintenance

It’s important to trust both your team and yourself as the months progress. Experiencing pain or limited motion? Ask for expert advice. Communicate how your shoulder feels so a physical therapist can adapt your program.


Contact us for help

If experiencing shoulder dislocation or other issues with your shoulder, now is the time to get better with Dr Jens Buelow. Call (08) 9212 4200 or use our contact form to make an appointment for a consultation.