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ShouldersShoulder Surgery Post Operative Instructions

Here is What Dr. Sforzo and Dr. Dillingham Want You to Know to Maximize Your Recovery


  • Move your fingers and thumb into and out of a fist 5 – 10 times an hour. Try to get the fingers all the way straight and all the way into a fist.
  • Leave your arm in the sling at all times except for when you are changing your clothes or doing physical therapy or your home exercises. If there is conflicting orders from your doctor and your therapist, call our office to get them clarified.
  • Take a shower but, be sure to cover your shoulder with something protective like plastic so that it does not get wet. It might be easier to sponge bathe until after the sutures come out.
  • Change your dressing 4-5 days after the surgery and cover the incisions with band-aids. The incisions can be left open to the air when they have stopped draining.
  • Walk as much as you can. Do not sit around. It is important to keep blood moving in your legs to prevent blood clots.
  • Use your hand to type or write
  • Move your elbow up and down, keeping it next to your body, when out of the sling.


  • Don’t drive. Period. We will discuss this further at your 1st post-op appointment.
  • Don’t do any lifting, pushing, or pulling.
  • Don’t move your shoulder or reach with the arm that your surgery was performed on.
  • Don’t remove the sutures.
  • Don’t travel until cleared by your doctor.
  • Don’t place any creams, ointments, Neosporin/Polysporin on the incision. THINK DRY!!!


  • If you do get the dressing or wounds wet, take off the dressing and pat the wounds dry, replace the dressing with band aids, then call the office.
  • If you notice the wounds becoming very red and swollen, or there is a discharge from the wound, call the office.
  • If you have a nerve block, it is normal to have some numbness in the hand and fingers for a period of time after the surgery.
  • It is normal to have some stiffness in the fingers after the surgery. The more you move the fingers the less stiff they will be.
  • If your pain is not controlled with the pain medication, or you can not tolerate the medication for any reason, call our office.If you are having any problems or concerns, please call the office.
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