Surgical Procedures

What should I expect after having a shoulder acromioplasty?

A Answers (1)

  • AHealthwise answered

    You may go home a few hours after waking up from anesthesia. A family member or friend should drive you home. In some cases, the doctor may suggest that you stay overnight for help with pain and for observation.

    Discomfort after surgery may be relieved by:

    • Applying ice to the surgical site 3 times a day.
    • Taking pain medicines as prescribed.
    • Immobilizing and protecting your shoulder by wearing a sling as directed. Your doctor will advise you whether you need a sling after surgery. Some doctors do not recommend this, because the shoulder joint may become stiff.

    With a doctor's approval, you may be able to return to light work within a few days after surgery even if you are using a sling.

    Physical therapy after surgery is crucial for a successful recovery. A typical rehabilitation schedule includes the following:

    • Range-of-motion exercises may start the day after subacromial smoothing surgery.
    • Strength training may begin a few weeks after surgery.

    When normal shoulder strength and range of motion return, usually after about 6 to 8 weeks, you can gradually resume playing sports.

    This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. To learn more visit

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What is a shoulder acromioplasty?