After surgery

Post Operative Instructions for Shoulder Replacement Surgery

A sling will be applied in theatre. This is to be left on at all times and will only be removed by the physio who will show you how to do your post-op exercises.

There will be a large wound pad covering the dressing. This will be removed approximately 12 hours after surgery. The wound dressing will be changed to a waterproof dressing approximately 24-48 hours after surgery.

You can shower, but avoid getting water under the dressing. It is to be kept dry for as long as possible.

You will be given a post-operative appointment upon discharge as you will need a review appointment 10-12 days after surgery. If you do not have this appointment, please contact the rooms on 8376 9988.

Driving after surgery

Due to safety and insurance, driving is not permitted for 8 weeks following surgery or unless you have been given clearance by Dr Nimon prior.

Pain management

Pain relief or a script will be provided to you upon discharge from the hospital. This amount should be adequate however you may need to take “over the counter” pain relief for the next few weeks. It is not unusual to experience some pain for several weeks following surgery.

If you have any concerns such as swelling, redness, increased warmth of the operation site, excessive discharge from the wound or you have a temperature of generally feel unwell, please contact Dr Nimon immediately on 8376 9988 or after hours paging service 8378 2179.

It is important to carry out post-surgery exercises as shown by the physiotherapist while your shoulder is healing. These exercises can be carried out as able or 3-4 times a day. We recommend taking some pain relief 30 minutes prior to commencing exercises.

Shoulder Exercises

Whilst sitting with arm in sling. Place your feet wide apart bend forward at your waist, allowing your arm to gently drop forward. Cradle your operated arm and gently move it in circles with the assistance of your other arm.

Elbow Exercises

Whilst lying with operated arm supported by pillow, loosen sling straps. From the resting position, simply move the hand of your operated shoulder towards chin, thus bending your elbow as far as able. When straightening, simply take hand down across stomach, pelvis and down to side as far as able.

Wrist Exercises

With the arm in resting position across stomach, turn palm up then down. Then in resting position, with palms facing up, move wrist up and down. Hand It is very important to keep the hand moving as it may be swollen, this will prevent it from getting stiff. Make a full fist, stretching your fingers out.


A separate sling will be given for showering. When showering wear this, lean on a wall or soap dish with the elbow allowing arm to passively come away from the body. Your axilla (arm pit) can then be washed with other arm. Then do the same on drying. Put spray on deodorant on after to reduce potential bacterial load and then tinea powder (not spray on) in axilla to avoid moisture and reduce chance of thrush developing in axilla. After, put on a t-shirt (loose fit). Put operated arm through the sleeve, then head and then opposite arm and put blue sling on over the top (do not wear singlet/sleeveless shirts etc as skin on skin will lead to thrush/irritation in arm pit (axilla). 

Post Operative Exercises – Physiotherapy Instructions

Immediate:-Post-op Elbow, hand range of motion (ROM), neck exercises

2 Weeks :– Internal and external rotation exercises – avoiding external rotation past neutral. Assisted elevation (ie. stick, pulley).

4 Weeks :– Sling should be abandoned. Therapeutic assisted abduction. Therapist assisted or auto assistance. Isometric rotator cuff strengthening within limits of pain.

6 Weeks :– Increase range of motion. 2 – 3 Months Increasing power of internal and external rotation and abduction (ie. Theraband). Proprioceptice work. Scapular exercises.