What to Expect with Your Shoulder Arthroscopy (Scope)

Before your Shoulder Arthroscopy (Scope)

Preparation prior to your surgery is vital in the success of your entire experience.

Surgical Clearance:

You’ll need to obtain a surgical clearance from all physicians who are involved in your care. Our office has a specialized clearance form that we will fax to their offices upon scheduling surgery. You will also be given a copy of the form. It is important that you contact your doctors to verify if you will need to be seen in their office prior to your doctor signing your clearance for surgery, or if your doctor is comfortable signing off without seeing you for an appointment.

Lab Work:

You will also need to complete lab work (within 30 days prior to your surgery date) and have a current EKG (within the last 6 months) and chest x-ray (within the last year). Our office will facilitate these orders for you. It is important that these are all completed at the hospital your surgery is scheduled at approximately 3 weeks prior to your surgery.

  • St. Mary’s Hospital: NO APPOINTMENT IS NEEDED. Stop at the registration desk and let them know you are there for pre-surgical lab work and testing. They will direct you to lab and radiology.
  • Decatur Memorial Hospital: NO APPOINTMENT IS NEEDED. You will enter through the registration doors on the west side of the hospital (where the Subway restaurant is located). Stop at the first desk you reach and let them know you are there for pre-surgical lab work and testing. They will direct you to lab and radiology.


There are some medications that you will be instructed to stop prior to your surgery. It is vital that we are aware of ALL prescription medications, over-the-counter medications and herbal supplements. If you fail to stop the medications, SURGERY WILL BE CANCELLED. Common medications that are necessary to stop prior to your surgery are NSAIDs, blood thinners, and most herbal supplements. You will be given a list of which medications to stop and when at your surgery scheduling appointment in our office. You will be advised of which medications are safe to take the morning of surgery, as there are some that are not compatible with Anesthesia, and therefore, held the morning of surgery.

Pre-Op Call:

You will receive a call from our office on the office day prior to your scheduled surgery. This allows us to answer any last-minute questions, review details for the day of surgery and we will give you your confirmed surgery arrival time.

Night Before Surgery:

Nothing to eat or drink, smoke or chew after midnight. Non-compliance will result in cancellation of your surgery.


  • Review your Surgery Scheduling Sheet that was given to you from our office at the time of surgery scheduling.
  • If you have any medical forms that your employer is requiring to be filled out by your surgeon, please ensure our office has obtained these. Allow 7-10 days for them to be completed.

After your Shoulder Arthroscopy (Scope)

Prepare to live your life to the fullest
  • Follow-up Appointment: 2 weeks post-operative- If this has not already been scheduled, please call the office at 217-864-2665 to make this appointment ASAP.
  • Post-Op Bandage: Keep the bandage clean, dry and intact for the first 24 hours after your surgery. After 24 hours you may remove the bandage and cover the incision sites with a band aid.
  • Stitches: Your stitches will be removed in our office at your 2-week follow-up appointment.
  • Showering: Permitted AFTER 48 hours. No soaking, tub baths, or swimming until 4 weeks after your surgery. DO NOT apply any lotions, creams or ointments to the incision sites until 4 weeks after your surgery.
  • Medications: Follow the medication regimen given to you. If you have any questions pertaining to your medications, please call the nurse at the office. If any undesired side effects from the medications, STOP the medication immediately and call the nurse at the office. If you had a Rotator Cuff Repair avoid all anti-inflammatory medications as these will decrease the healing of the repair. Pain medications will not be renewed after 6 weeks post-op.
  • Immobilizer: Please remain in the immobilizer at all times unless showering or dressing. You may also perform range of motion exercises to the elbow and wrist at those times. The time frame that you will be required to wear the immobilizer may vary. This will be discussed with your surgeon at your 2-week follow-up appointment.
  • Sleeping: You may find it most comfortable to sleep in a recliner due to the immobilizer.
  • When to Call the Office: Contact the office if you notice any signs and symptoms of infection, such as increased incisional drainage, redness, swelling, fever, chills, or increased pain.
  • Weight Bearing: Non-weight bearing to the surgical arm while in the immobilizer.
  • Driving: No driving while still in the immobilizer. The length of wearing the immobilizer will vary depending on the extend of repair your surgeon performed.
  • Numbness: The skin around your incision may be slightly numb, which is NORMAL.
  • Icing: Anytime you are sitting down, apply ice to your shoulder. There is no such thing as too much icing. DO NOT apply the ice directly to your skin. Place a piece of fabric in between the ice and your skin.
  • Therapy:
    If NO Rotator Cuff Repair: May begin pendulum exercises on day 5 post-op (instructions attached to your discharge instructions). Formal physical therapy will begin 2 weeks post-op, 3 times a week for 4 weeks.

          • If Rotator Cuff Repair: No movement to the shoulder for 6 weeks post-operatively. Formal physical therapy will begin 6 weeks after your surgery, 2 times a week for 6 weeks.

          • If unsure whether a Rotator Cuff Repair was performed, please call the office for clarification.
  • Return to Work: Your return to work date will be dependent on the type of work you do and the extent of repair that was required by the surgeon. It is pertinent that you are no longer taking the narcotic pain medications prior to your return. You can discuss with your surgeon at the 2-week post-op appointment about when you may be able to return to work.
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