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How To Prepare For Shoulder Surgery, What To Do Before And After

Updated on October 2, 2011

Shoulder Surgery-How to make it as smooth as possible

The Best Advice

Undergoing shoulder surgery can be a very painful and traumatic experience. Having recently gone through such a process, I felt it would be beneficial to all readers that are perhaps unfortunately looking forward to the event, or may know someone who is, or even if you simply strive to become more educated on the topic.

The shoulder is the body's most flexible joint, due to this wide range of motion it puts the shoulder at a very high risk of injury. There are various types of shoulder injuries including a simple impingement, a torn rotator cuff, a stretched capsule, a torn labrum, or even what they call "Arthritis and Loose Bodies", which is an injury predominantly experienced by the elderly due to overuse which inevitably comes with age. Regardless of the individuals situation or the type of injury, there are certain protocols that one should to follow. As explained, I have had first hand exposure to such an event and there are certain tips I wanted to give to readers, that will help anyone in every type of varied situation.

If you happen to be having a morning surgery it is very important that you do not eat or drink after midnight before your surgery date. This includes all types of consumption including smoking, chewing gum, or even eating mints. If your surgery falls in the afternoon you need to consult your physician as to your exact planning, generally one would stop consumption about 10 hours before surgery.

If you are under some type of medication however, make sure you take your prescribed medications. Weather it be heart medications or blood pressure medications, take these the day of your surgery with a small amount of water, preferably one sip. If you happen to be on insulin, again, you need to consult your physician and follow their instructions as this type of medication varies with each individual and cannot necessarily be classified as a standard procedure. It is also necessary to bring a list of your current medications with you to your surgery, including necessary information in regards to dosage amounts, time, and frequency. This also includes vitamins you may take on a daily basis or any other over the counter medication. Notify your doctor of all medications you take on a regular basis no matter how minute you may feel they are. Furthermore, you should not take any type of blood thinner or aspirin, this includes ibuprofen and low dose aspirin, up to a week prior to the surgery date. If you have consumed such medication, you need to let your doctor know as soon as possible.

I would recommend you wear comfortable, baggy clothing so they can be put over your surgical dressing after the surgery takes place. Do not wear any clothing with metal or nylon contents (bra zippers, snaps etc) as they will need to be removed. Be sure to bathe the morning of surgery with antibacterial soap, women need to remove all makeup and nail polish before surgery. Lastly, leave all jewelry and valuables at home, if you wear contact lenses leave these at home also.

To ensure a smooth process bring any paper work, tests results and medical history along with you. Ensure that copies of your blood tests, EKG, or x-ray reports are faxed to your surgical destination prior to your procedure.

Now onto the post operation advice...

Generally, patients are ready to leave within two or three hours after surgery. You will feel pain, discomfort, and possible drowsiness or dizziness depending on what type of anesthesia you received, and also how your body responds to this treatment. Your companion may stay by your side once you are resting in the post operative area, as this is your final recovery area.

As a few little extra reminders, limit the number of people that are with you and certainly do not bring children. You must notify your doctor if you are pregnant. Your family members or friends may want to bring warm clothing as it gets a little chilly as temperatures vary throughout these types of facilities. Lastly, if you are travelling a long way and need to drive two to three hours or more, be sure to bring a few pillows and to keep your injured area elevated to reduce swelling and pain. It is common sense but just to ensure the safety of my readers, do not drive after your surgery, have a friend or family member drive you home.

It will help a great deal if you follow these guidlines, let me know what you thought.

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