Call 202.787.5601 for an appointment.

Post-Op Instructions: Shoulder Surgery

Medications commonly prescribed (Prescription given to patient)

Oxycodone/acetaminophen – 10 mg/325 (Percocet®)Take as directed for pain (with food)
Oxycodone Hydrochloride – 10 mg (OxyContin®)Take as directed for pain (with food)
Oxycodone – 5mgTake as directed for pain (with food)
Promethazine (Phenergan®)Take as directed for nausea
Ondansetron (Zofran®)Take as directed for nausea


Advance diet as tolerated.

Constipation is common with the use of pain medication. You can ward off constipation by increasing both dietary fiber and water intake. One tablespoon of milk of magnesia is effective and can be taken one or twice daily.


Keep operative arm in a sling as directed. You may begin doing pendulum exercises the day after surgery if instructed by Dr Klimkiewicz.

If you received a nerve block, keep your arm protected while it is numb.


Keep dressings clean and dry for three days after surgery. You may then remove the dressings, and shower. No soaking in a bath, pool, or hot tub.


Apply an ice pack to minimize pain and swelling.

Use Cryo/Cuff®, PolarCare™, or Game Ready®.

Post-operative Follow up

Dr Klimkiewicz routinely calls you the day following your surgery. He will review the procedure with special precautions as they pertain to your procedure.

Office Appointment

Dr Klimkiewicz will want to see you in the office typically 7-10 days after your procedure. If you do not already have a post-op appointment, please call our office at (202) 787-5601 or email his medical assistant at

Call your surgeon if

You develop a fever above 101 degrees.
The pain is severe and unrelieved with medication.
You have any questions or problems.


The subtle effects of general anesthesia or sedation with regional/local anesthesia can last more than 24 hours. Rest on the day of surgery. Although you may feel normal, your reflexes and mental ability may be impaired. You may feel dizzy, lightheaded, or sleepy for 24 hours or longer. Do not consume alcohol, drive, operate machinery, or make important personal or business decisions for 24 hours. After a general anesthetic, it is normal to feel generalized aching and sore muscles for 24 hours. A sore throat may occur.

Frequently Asked Questions

The sling is for your comfort and protection after the surgery. People vary on how long they need to wear it. We recommend wearing it all the time for the first week, including while sleeping. After this, it will depend on your specific surgery and comfort level. It is wise to wear the sling while out in public because it will warn people that you have just had surgery. Some injuries and surgical procedures will require 6 weeks in the sling.

Ice helps with the swelling and can help to decrease pain after surgery. For the first few days after surgery, “the more, the better.” Ice for approximately 30 minutes 3–5 times per day. For the first night and first day following surgery, you should ice as much as possible.

Yes, it will. It might not feel like it, but it does.

No. There are many layers under the tape.

Try to keep the original dressing on for the first 3 days post-op. If necessary, you may remove the dressing and place large band-aids over the incisions or cover the incisions with gauze and tape. Please wash your hands before replacing your dressing. Do not mess with the incisions! Typically, the incisions are repaired with absorbable sutures and skin glue.

You will need to cover the dressing to keep it dry while showering for the first 3 days after surgery. We suggest covering the shoulder with plastic wrap above and below the dressing and taping it in place. You may remove the dressing and shower normally 3 days after surgery allowing your incision to get wet.

Yes. This will cause no harm to your shoulder, but expect it to be sore. Your surgeon may have put some restrictions on your movement. Please refer to your post-op instructions.

There is no correct answer. We suggest taking it easy the day of the surgery. Expect to be groggy and tired due to the anesthesia and medications given during the procedure. Take it easy for the first couple of days after surgery and progress your activities as tolerated.

No!! Aside from the first day/night after surgery, staying in bed usually causes more problems. While at home, it is usually better to sit upright in a chair/bed (when you are not resting/sleeping). We encourage you to walk as you are able.

Your physical therapy prescription will be provided at your first post-op visit. If you need it sooner, please contact the office.

While you are on pain medication during the day, do not drive. You may drive when you feel it is safe. Limit your driving until you have normal use of your shoulder.

It depends on the type of job you have. If you do mainly desk work or sedentary work, you may return when you feel up to it. Most people return within 3–5 days. If you have a physical/labor-intensive job, then expect to take at least a couple of weeks off. We will discuss your return to work as you progress postoperatively. Most people return to regular activities/sports anywhere between 4–16 weeks after surgery. This is usually sport-dependent and depends on your level of activity (e.g., high school, recreational, college, professional).

Remember that you will have aches and pains in different parts of your body after surgery.

If you have any serious medical problems and start having difficulty breathing, chest pains, etc., please call our office and/or your primary care doctor, present to a local emergency room, call 9-1-1.

You may start the following week. If you have already seen a therapist prior to surgery, or know where we plan to start therapy after surgery, I suggest setting up your appointments in advance. Most of the therapy places are very busy, so setting up your appointments in advance will allow you more choice of times to attend.

Dr Klimkiewicz is accessible during normal business hours through the main number (202) 787-5601 and routinely answers his emails first thing in the morning daily. You may reach him at