How to Bathe After Rotator Cuff Surgery

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Whether you have arthroscopic shoulder surgery or the more invasive open shoulder surgery, there will be weeks of care following rotator cuff surgery. In most cases, your physician will provide you with instructions on what you can and cannot do, and a time frame for these instructions. Bathing will be awkward at first but still possible with the proper precautions.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic wrap
  • Rubbing alcohol

After Open Shoulder Surgery

  • Obtain any information prior to being discharged from the hospital facility on the proper ways to bathe after open shoulder surgery.

  • Do not bathe at all the first 24 hours after surgery. Take sponge baths only until given the okay to shower by your physician.

  • Use some sort of plastic wrap to cover the incision to keep it dry once you are given the okay to shower. This is usually the second day after surgery. Do not use your arm, let it hang freely. Do not use soap and water on the incision.

  • Replace bandages that get wet to reduce the risk of infection. Do not soak in a bath tub, hot tub or swimming pool for 10 to 14 days.

  • Wash the incision with soap and water, but only after given the okay from a physician and no drainage from the incision is evident. No plastic wrap is necessary at this point. Do not scrub the incision. Do not remove the adhesive skin closure strips (small pieces of tape). Use a soft towel to pat the area dry.

After Arthroscopic Surgery

  • Obtain any information prior to being discharged from the hospital facility on the proper ways to bathe.

  • Shower with soap and water, but not until two days after surgery. Do not scrub the areas and do not remove the adhesive skin closure strips (small pieces of tape). Allow them to come off by themselves.

  • Use a soft towel to pat the area dry.

  • Do not soak in the bath tub or hot tub until given the okay by your physician.This is usually about one week after surgery.

Tips & Warnings

  • You may notice a discoloration of the skin around the incision area. This yellowish color is due to a liquid called DuraPrep that is used in surgery to kill bacteria on your skin. Over time this will come off with soap and water. Use rubbing alcohol to remove it quicker.

References

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