Bone surgery

Messages to others about shoulder surgery

The people we talked to offered different advice based on their experiences of keyhole shoulder surgery. Everyone is different and what works for one person may not work for someone else. Here are some of their suggestions.

Many people were pleased they’d had subacromial shoulder surgery and recommended it to those who are eligible and might be considering it. The benefits included being pain-free again and mobile enough to do activities that had become difficult because of pain. These included driving, work, sports and, for some, sleeping properly. Several wished they’d had surgery sooner rather than putting up with severe pain, Beverley saying she’d felt ‘quite down’ before. Others recommend not giving up if people have shoulder pain, and that they should keep going back to the GP if the pain persists.
Manuel advised others not to be afraid of having shoulder surgery and to read as much they can beforehand. He was happy he’d had it and that his arm and shoulder were working well again. Sue recommended watching the Technology Enhanced Patient Information (TEPI) videos as a ‘refresher’.
Wayne ‘couldn’t wait’ to have surgery because of the pain he’d been in. He was self-employed and advised others to plan ahead so that they could take the recommended amount of time off work.

People also offered tips during recovery, including:

•    be patient during recovery as it can be gradual and sometimes take longer than expected
•    wearing loose clothing can be helpful in the early stages
•    avoid heavy lifting and reaching for objects in high places
•    do the recommended exercises every day

Mary, like several others, said that having a shower during the first week after surgery can be hard. She wrapped cling film around her shoulder so that it wouldn’t get wet:
A few people who’d had problems after surgery recommended not giving up and to keep contacting or seeing the relevant health professionals until the problems are resolved. 

People also had messages for health professionals. Many praised the care they’d been given and said they were grateful that their experience had been encouraging. Jasmine wanted to thank the professionals who’d cared for her and Ken said they’d done an ‘absolutely brilliant job’. For Wayne, the hospital had been ‘gold star all the way’. Jenny, an ex-nurse, felt that health professionals don’t have the time to talk to patients these days and that it was important that they made time to communicate with patients at the bedside. Having surgery was ‘worthwhile’ and had improved her shoulder but she felt that doctors should warn people more about the risks of surgery:
Olive would like health professionals to stress to patients the time it takes to recover, which can be longer than they expect, and Alan would like professionals to give more information about managing at home in the early stages of recovery.

Last reviewed August 2018.

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