Healthcare News

Recovery from shoulder surgery

Mr Toby Colegate-Stone | November 11, 2022 | Video

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Mr Toby Colegate-Stone, one of London's most prolific shoulder surgeons, explains the steps to recovering from shoulder surgery.

What happens in the early recovery phase after shoulder surgery?

Toby: The great thing about shoulder surgery is that you can go home the same day if you want to. The wounds have to stay dry, clean and covered for the first two weeks. We tend to catch up with the patient at two weeks post-surgery, to take the little sutures out of where the ports are to check all the soft tissues are nicely healed. People are in a sling for around three to four weeks or so post-surgery, under my care.

Of course, if there's a massive tear or it’s a bigger type of reconstruction procedure, in which case for those patients one has to be a bit more diligent with the initial mobilisation. But generally I would say to most patients, month one you're in a sling, month two and month three is a range of movement exercises with the physios.

How important is physiotherapy in recovery?

Toby: Now physiotherapy is absolutely critical to a successful procedure. Ninety percent of the physiotherapy is the patient doing the exercises the physios have given them - and often they're seeing a physio once a week or so, in that initial two or three month period. Then after that, we're building up power and strength.

How long before you can return to sports after surgery?

Toby: Now, in terms of sports, well you can be back on an exercise bike within a couple of weeks post-surgery. You could be running by about a month or so post-surgery - if you're feeling comfortable. You could be driving by about four weeks or so. Things like golf, well you can be standing putting by about three months quite happily, chipping by about four to five months but you really wouldn't be standing at a golf tee really hitting hard until about six months.

In terms of more heavy duty activities, well we don't suggest any heavy weight training for months of course, because we're waiting for all the tissues to recover. And you have to remember all those muscles and all the joint caps have to wake up. That does take a little bit of time, so it's really six months before you can really get back into hardcore, contact sport.

Mr Toby Colegate-Stone is clinical lead for shoulder at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in London and is a high volume shoulder and trauma surgeon. His private practice is at Cleveland Clinic London, a global healthcare provider based in Belgravia, with consulting and diagnostic facilities at Portland Place near Oxford Street. The hospital boasts 184 inpatient ensuite bedrooms, 8 theatres and 29 Intensive Care Unit beds.

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