Shoulder Arthroscopic Acromioplasty

Stephen M. Desio, M.D.

  • You may use your arm as soon as you feel comfortable. You will feel more comfortable moving it below shoulder level. The sling is for comfort only and may be removed as soon as the soreness has lessened. You do not have to sleep with the sling on. Pain is your guide as to how much to use the arm.
  • Apply ice to your shoulder for 20 minutes every hour as long as the shoulder is painful. Make sure the ice never directly touches your skin. Either the bandage or a towel will protect your skin from getting too cold.
  • You may remove your bandage and take a shower with your stitches 2 days after surgery as long as there is no drainage from the incision sites. If you notice drainage from the sites, hold off on getting them wet until they are completely dry. Place Band-Aids over the incisions once per day until they are full healed. Do not soak incisions in water. No swimming or bath for 7 days after surgery.


  • You may have had a nerve block before surgery. This may provide numbness of your shoulder, arm, and hand for up to 36 hours. When the nerve block wears off, expect an increase in your pain for 2-3 days.
  • You will be given a prescription for a pain killer that is a narcotic. This is usually Tramadol, Vicodin, Oxycodone, or something similar. This medication is highly addictive and should be discontinued within 2-3 days after surgery.
  • Pain Management is very important during the first few days after surgery. To prevent the pain from getting ahead of you, take your pain medication regularly for the first 24 hours until the nerve block has worn off, then begin to wean off the narcotics and use Tylenol or Ibuprofen.
  • A stool softener is recommended i.e. Colace. One of the most common side effects of pain medications is nausea and constipation.
  • If you experience nausea, it is most commonly a side effect of the narcotic, and the anesthesia. Please call the office and we will phone in medication for the nausea.
  • Although blood clots are rare, you should take a baby aspirin (81mg) a day for 1 week after surgery to reduce the risk.
  • A prescription will be given for pain medication. If you feel it is too strong or you do not need it, Tylenol, Advil, Ibuprofen, or Aleve may be used instead, as long as you do not have allergies to these medications.
  • Contact the office if you have any redness or excessive drainage at the incision sites.


  • Pendulums: While standing, hold onto a table for support and move your arm in SLOW circles beginning small and gradually getting larger. Begin clockwise for ten repetitions, then counterclockwise for ten repetitions.
  • Shoulder Flexion (Assistive): Lying on your back and holding a wand or cane, slowly raise the wand towards overhead. Use your unaffected arm to assist with the movement. Ten repetitions.
  • Table Slide - Flexion: Sitting in a chair, rest your injured arm on a table and gently slide it forward and then back. Ten repetitions.
  • Table Slide - Abduction: Sitting in a chair, rest your injured arm on a table and gently slide it out to the side and then back. Ten repetitions.