Hospital stay after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty

You will stay in the hospital for one to two nights 

If you are planning to go to an extended care or rehab you will likely need to stay three nights due to insurance reasons. If you are planning to go to one of these facilities you may want to research places in your area before your surgery. The social work staff will help with placement when you are in the hospital.

You will have a dressing on your shoulder and your arm will be in a sling. You also may have a drain to collect fluid and blood from the surgery. Your health care team will watch it closely while you are in the hospital. It will be removed the morning you leave the hospital.

In the hospital you also will have 

  • An IV until you are eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom
  • Cold therapy unit or ice bags
  • Sequential stockings on your legs to prevent blood clots
  • Oxygen tubing if you need it
  • Catheter if you cannot urinate

Pain medicine after shoulder surgery

If you are given a regional block, it will wear off overnight. Your nurse will offer you pain medicine every four hours. It is best to take the medicine when it is offered so you will have medicine in your system when the block wears off. You also can ask for more pain medicine in IV or pill form if needed. Please ask for more pain medicine when you start to feel pain. You also can have medicine for nausea if needed.

Evaluations after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty surgery

Lab work in the form of blood tests will be done during your stay. Decisions about your care will be made based on these results. In order for the lab results to be ready for your doctor in the morning, the staff draw your blood between midnight and 2 a.m. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause you.

Blood transfusion after shoulder surgery

You may need a blood transfusion after your surgery. Your doctor does not want you to donate blood for yourself before your surgery. You will get blood from the blood bank. Your doctor or nurse can answer questions you may have about this.

Occupational therapy and physical therapy

Occupational therapy and physical therapy will see you after your surgery to evaluate your needs. They start about 8 a.m. You will do range-of-motion exercises the morning after your surgery. The therapist will teach you how to do the exercises. It is best to have a family member at the therapy session.

Discharge after reverse total shoulder arthroplasty surgery

The day you leave the hospital your doctor or a member of the shoulder team will see you early in the morning. Your drain will be pulled at that time. Your nurse will go over your instructions before you leave. People are often able to leave around noon.

Last reviewed: 
October 2018

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