10 tips for Shoulder Surgery in Kansas City

10 tips for shoulder surgery

Recovering from a shoulder arthroscopy is no easy matter. I know this because I’ve had three of them. Here are 10 tips for shoulder surgery.

After playing collegiate volleyball both of my shoulders needed labral repairs and more recently, my left shoulder needed a revision repair. Lucky for me, I had a great care team and Dr. Van den Berghe and crew made my recovery go smoothly. There are multiple repairs and reconstructions done for the shoulder: labral repairs, rotator cuff repairs, total shoulder arthroplasties, subacromial decompression, distal clavicle excision and capsule plications, just to name a few. All of these surgeries will have different post-op restrictions and physical therapy protocols. I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks that will help in all cases.


  1. If you’re a lady, go ahead and invest in a few bandeau bras. I got a pack off amazon prior to surgery and being able to slide them up is so much easier than trying to clasp anything or wrestle a sports bra over your head one-handed.
  2. Grab some oversized t-shirts or button up shirts to wear for the first few weeks post-operatively. Getting fitted shirts on and off is much harder than you’d think. Button-up shirts allow you to easily slide your operative arm in without much pain. Oversized t-shirts are also relatively easy to get on and off.
  3. Buttoning pants is no easy task in a sling; make sure you have some with elastic waist bands.
  4. Find an old tie to wear and use it as a makeshift sling in the shower by tying it wound your neck and supporting your operative arm.
  5. For the first few days post-operatively, it is much easier to sleep sitting up, so have a makeshift bed on your couch or recliner ready with supportive pillows.
  6. The polar care ice machine is your friend. Use is frequently.
  7. Even though you’re in a sling you can still be active. I found going on walks, doing the elliptical and other cardio activities post-operatively helped me to feel better. Ask your doctor when you’d be clear to start activities.
  8. If given the choice, get the block prior to surgery. It helped so much with pain control post-operatively.
  9. This is another one especially for the ladies! It is difficult to style your hair with only one arm; you might want to start practicing now or even have your spouse or children practice helping wash and style your hair ahead of time. If it’s too difficult to manage you could even consider some pampering and new hairstyle prior to surgery.
  10. If you find that the neck strap is getting uncomfortable or rubbing then a seat belt cover pad works great to add a little cushioning.