What to Expect After Surgery | Rehabilitation: What to expect... | Physical Therapy Protocols

Surgery, What to Expect ....

It is normal to have swelling and discomfort after surgery that may last anywhere from days to a week or even slightly longer.

If you had a nerve block with your surgery, your arm may feel numb for several hours after surgery.

Following your surgery you will be provided with narcotic medications. These medications are designed to help with, but not take away completely, the post-operative pain. Do not exceed the prescribed dose of pain medication!!!

**If you feel as thought the pain is unbearable despite taking the pain medications AS PRESCRIBED, then your only other option is to go to the emergency room for pain control/management. I cannot safely prescribe you anything stronger that can be taken without constant monitoring.

The following medications are combination drugs that contain TYLENOL in them (in addition to the narcotic):
IF you were prescribed one of these combination medications (or another combination drug containing Tylenol),YOU CANNOT TAKE TYLENOL in addition to taking any of these medications. This is because Tylenol when taken in excessive doses can cause liver damage. The prescribed amount of these above listed drugs totals the maximum amount of Tylenol per day that you can have without doing damage to your liver. This is why you should always take these medications as prescribed and not any more frequent.

Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking narcotic medications.

Common side effects of narcotic pain medications:


Apply ice bags or use the cryocuff you were given to control swelling. Ice should be applied 20-30 minutes at a time, every one to two hours.To protect your skin put a thin towel or T-shirt next to your skin if using a plastic ice bag. Icing is most important in the first 48 hours, although many people find continuing it lessens their postoperative pain.


It is very important that you resume taking all of the medications that you were taking prior to your surgery, IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING YOUR SURGERY.

Individuals who take a daily Aspirin for cardiac reasons and who were instructed to stop it for 7-10 days prior to their surgery should absolutely resume taking the Aspirin immediately after their surgery.

Call the office immediately with any signs/symptoms of infection at the incision site(s) such as:


Make sure that you have established supports prior to your surgery so that you will have people who can assist you during your recovery phase.

Abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages and NO SMOKING.

Drink plenty of water and eat a regular diet.

Plan to take AT LEAST a few days to a week off from work.


Following surgery, you will be prescribed a regimen of physical therapy.

You will begin physical therapy the day after your surgery while in the hospital. This will consist of a therapist moving your arm for you as well as them teaching you exercises to be done at home following discharge from the hospital. Dr. Goff will provide you with specific physical therapy instructions at your first post-operative visit (7-10 days after your surgery).


NOW THAT YOU HAVE AN ARTIFICIAL JOINT you will need to take antibiotics before any future dental and/or surgical procedures FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

You have had surgery to replace one of your joints with a metal prosthesis or an allograft (donor bone). From now on, you must take oral antibiotics before any dental work (including routine cleanings), upper respiratory tract procedures such as endoscopy, or before any genitourinary/gastrointestinal procedures such as a colonoscopy. These procedures are a potential source of infection. If you develop an infection, it could spread to your operative area and cause complications. Please present this letter to your medical doctor and dentist, so he or she can prescribe the appropriate medications for you.

The following information is recommended by the American Heart, Dental, and Orthopaedic Associations:
Standard General Prophylactic:
Amoxicillin Adults: 500 mg Take 4 capsules (2 grams) orally one hour before the procedure

If allergic to Penicillin:
  • Clindamycin
    Adults: 300 mg Take 2 capsules (600 mg) orally one hour before the procedure
  • Cephalexin
    Adults: 500 mg Take 4 capsules (2 grams) orally one hour before the procedure
  • Azithromycin
    Adults: 250 mg Take 2 capsules (500 mg) orally one hour before the procedure

NOTE: Cephalosporins should not be used if you have ever developed an immediate hypersensitivity reaction (i.e. hives, swelling, severe itching, difficulty breathing) to Penicillin.

Please contact Dr. Goff at Mt. Tam Orthopedics if you have any questions.





Powered By: Understand.com