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What Is The Recovery Time After Arthroscopy Shoulder Surgery?

Your shoulder is a complex joint that can move in multiple directions. As a result, you can perform almost all typical daily activities, such as finding food on the shelf, brushing your teeth and dressing. 

When shoulder surgery temporarily takes you out of the game, recovery is essential to return to normal as soon as possible. Knowing what will happen, how long each step will take, and what you can do to help support the healing process can make surgery and recovery less overwhelming. So let us know in this article the recovery time after arthroscopic shoulder surgery

What to expect during recovery from shoulder surgery 

In most cases, most shoulder injuries do not require surgical intervention. However, significant tears of the rotator cuff (the tendons and ligaments that attach to and wrap around the arm bone or the humerus head) usually require surgery. Although the surgery can be performed in a minimally invasive manner using arthroscopy, it usually requires an extensive recovery period of up to six months. The reason for this is that the tendon takes some time to heal and reconnect to the bone. 

Of course, the recovery period varies from patient to patient and depends on the severity of the tear. The recovery period includes a series of stages: 

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Recovery time for shoulder arthroscopy 

Arthroscopy usually reduces pain and stiffness, reduces complications, shortens (if any) stay in the health centre, and recovery is faster than open surgery. However, if you have a repair, your body needs time to heal after arthroscopic surgery, just as it takes time for you to recover from open surgery.


You will need stitches and bandages on the operated area. The suture may dissolve independently, or it may need to be removed by a doctor within a week or two. Most people can remove the bandage within a few days. Your doctor may also use a sling to hold your shoulders for at least 7 to 10 days. Prepare loose-fitting clothes. There is no need to move your arms when dressing. During this time, it is also good to ask friends and family for help with activities such as cooking and driving. 

Six weeks of postoperative period:- 

The first stage of recovery may last up to 6 weeks after surgery. After surgery, when you fully regain consciousness, your doctor can advise you on wound care, pain management, and ways to control inflammation. This may include cold therapy to help reduce pain and swelling. You will be instructed to rest your shoulders as possible and put your arms on the sling. Wearing a sling can keep the arm’s weight away from the tendon, which helps the healing process. The pain varies from person to person, depending on the degree of shoulder repair. Frequent cold compresses on the area will help reduce swelling and pain. 

After some time, your surgeon will recommend taking a physical therapy course based on your personal needs. In these courses, the therapist will perform exercises that involve passive movement of the joints. Passive exercise does not mean muscle contraction. During this period, it is essential not to contract the biceps. The therapist will move your arms gently for you without putting too much pressure on the joints. They will also teach you how to move and avoid the contraction of the muscles around the joints.

Encourage this gentle movement to prevent scar tissue from forming when the joint is not moving. The formation of scar tissue will restrict joint movement. 

6 to 12 weeks 

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During the next 6 to 12 weeks, you will be allowed to perform a limited range of arm movements. You will not lift or push heavy objects because even after this period, applying this pressure to the joint can cause the sutures that hold the tendon to the bone to pull out. You should avoid using the affected arm to support your weight. 

3-6 months 

This is a period when you will begin to strengthen your arm muscles after a relatively long period of inactivity. This is essential for your complete recovery. Do not put too much pressure on the joints since the connection between the bone and tendon is still healing. Instead, your therapist will provide many lightweight but practical exercises to strengthen weakened muscles slowly. 

As mentioned above, the duration of postoperative recovery varies from person to person and depends on the degree of repair required. In all cases, you must follow the instructions given by the shoulder surgeon very strictly to minimize the risk of complications and restore the entire shoulder movement. 

Exercise after surgery:

Passive physical therapy. 

In the first few weeks after the operation, you can perform gentle auxiliary exercises with a physical therapist to help restore mobility and range on your shoulders. Your damaged tissue will still heal actively, so don’t try these exercises yourself unless directed by your physical therapist because the shoulder joint needs support during exercise. Most physical therapists advise against lifting the top of the head first and recommend steadily performing more challenging activities as the shoulders heal. 

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Active physical therapy:

When the internal healing process is complete, you can start doing more active exercises to strengthen and increase flexibility. In about three months, you can begin to regain the strength of your arm. However, most people need physical therapy for at least six months after surgery.

Ongoing maintenance:

Once you have restored your normal strength and range of motion, you can continue to work with a physical therapist to help reduce the risk of further injury. If you notice pain or weakness, be sure to tell your doctor and physical therapist. 

When you start the recovery process of shoulder surgery, please consider using active cooling compression to help control inflammation and perform physical therapy immediately after surgery. In addition, using cryotherapy and active compression to help limit swelling and reduce oedema can limit the pain and help the recovery process. 


Recovery from arthroscopic shoulder surgery is faster than open surgeries recovery. One of the main advantages of choosing shoulder arthroscopic surgery is to reduce physical trauma. In addition, this minimally invasive surgery reduces your recovery time, and the incision site is small, allowing you to move faster. You have various treatment options to choose  from physical therapy to tendon repair or a shoulder replacement surgery for shoulder pain

At Hyderabad Shoulder Clinic, Dr Chandra Shekar. B provides state-of-the-art shoulder replacement surgery. Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery These rehabilitation programs are based on current research and detail the healing time and the risk of stiffness after arthroscopic shoulder surgery. You may notice that this article is more conservative than what you have seen in inexperience. Contact Dr Chandra Shekar. B at 91 9959588389.

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