Frequently asked shoulder surgery questions

Frequently asked shoulder surgery questions

Will I be required to wear a sling after surgery?

If you are in need of a soft tissue repair (rotator cuff or labrum) you will wear a sling, day and night, for a period of 4-6 weeks after surgery. If no repair is required you are to wear the sling for comfort and may be discontinued as tolerated.

I had an MRI ordered, what can I expect?

If Dr. Whitehurst or Francie ordered an MRI of your shoulder, once the MRI is completed we will see you back in the office which generally takes 7-10 days and review the results of your MRI and discuss the appropriate course of action at that time.

Can I take my arm out of the sling?

Unless directed by your physician, you may take your arm out of the sling to move your elbow, wrist and hand while keeping your arm at your side.

If my appointment is scheduled with Dr. Whitehurst will I see him on my first visit?

Upon your visit here you will be seen by Dr. Whitehurst and or his Physician Assistant Francie Kelso. Dr. Whitehurst and Francie work closely together so if you are not seen by Dr. Whitehurst on your first visit, you can be sure that he is aware and actively involved in your care.

I received an injection in my shoulder, what can I expect?

If you received an injection on your visit, than it is likely that your condition is not requiring surgery. In cases like these we utilize cortisone and physical therapy to treat your shoulder by non-operative means. Physical therapy is done for a period of 6 weeks at which time you will be re-evaluated. Most patients improve with conservative treatment. Often time cortisone can take 1-2 weeks to take effect. We encourage the use of ice during this period of time.

My MRI showed a tear and I’m having surgery, who do I contact?

If you are to schedule surgery, please call 815-484-6958 and speak to Ashley to select a surgery date and complete the necessary preoperative testing.

Who performs the surgery?

Dr. Whitehurst performs the surgery with the assistance of his Physician Assistant Francie Kelso.

Will I need pain meds after surgery?

You are able to take over the counter anti-inflammatories in place of or in addition to the narcotic if this works for your pain.

How long will the surgery take?

All surgeries vary with regards to the extent of damage. Most arthroscopic shoulder surgeries can be performed in a period of 1-3 hours.

Am I asleep for the surgery?

Yes, your surgery will be performed under general anesthesia. Often times, anesthesia will discuss the possibility of an interscalene block to assist with postoperative pain. You may additionally have a regional anesthetic block.

Will my surgery be open or arthroscopic?

Dr. Whitehurst is fellowship trained in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery, therefore, the majority of shoulder surgery is performed arthroscopically. In rare instances he may need to open, especially in the cases of shoulder replacements.

What is arthroscopic surgery?

A minimally invasive surgical procedure in which a small endoscope (camera) is inserted into the shoulder to perform surgical repair of damaged tissue. This often times is done through 3 or 4 portals (small incisions in the skin).

Will I need to go to therapy after surgery?

Once you are seen in the office after surgery we will issue you a prescription for physical therapy. Therapy is done 2-3 times per week and lasts for approximately 3-4 months, depending on the type of surgery and the demands of your job or sport.

Where will I do my therapy?

Therapy can be done anywhere that is convenient for you. We have a list of physical therapy offices that we routinely use and we can assist you with selecting one that is right for you.

When can I shower?

You will be permitted to remove the surgical dressing 2-3 days after the surgery unless advised otherwise by your physician. You can shower if you cover your incisions with Tegaderm dressing.

When can I return to work?

Generally patients are able to return to desk work within the first few weeks after surgery although this depends on how the patient is feeling. If your work is labor intensive, you may be off for 3-5 months.

When can I drive after surgery?

Patients should not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking narcotics. Normally patients are allowed to drive at 4 weeks post-op.

How much of my surgery will be covered by my insurance?

Patient’s insurance benefits are verified at Ortho Illinois by our verification of benefits department prior to any procedure. However, this verification of benefits does not identify the financial portion for which the patient will be held responsible. It is the responsibility of each patient to contact their insurance carrier for a more complete understanding of their policy coverage.