Minimizing Your Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery Time

rotator cuff surgery

Dr. Aron Rovner uses arthroscopic surgical techniques that allow patients to fully recover from rotator cuff surgery in four to six months. Arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery is an outpatient procedure, and recovery takes place in the comfort of your home. To find out how his modern approach can minimize your rotator cuff repair recovery time, contact Dr. Rovner's New York City, NY, practice today and schedule your consultation.

The First Six Weeks After Surgery

Immediately after surgery, movement of the shoulder must be carefully restricted, and it is important to follow Dr. Rovner's directions as closely as possible.

  • In the beginning, your shoulder will be sore and tender. Discomfort can be easily managed with pain medication prescribed by your surgeon, or over-the-counter medication.
  • You will be given a sling to immobilize your arm and promote healing. The sling should be worn at all times until your surgeon clears you to remove it. Most patients wear a sling for about four to six weeks.
  • At first, patients may have some difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position. To achieve a good night’s rest, you may want to prop yourself up on pillows, or curl up in a recliner.
  • For the first month or so after surgery, everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing, and cooking will be limited to the use of one arm. It is a good idea to arrange help with these tasks, or allow extra time to complete them.
  • Initially, some patients may have limited driving ability. In these cases, patients should arrange alternative transportation to and from work, school, doctor visits, and elsewhere in advance.
  • Generally speaking, patients are restricted to passive range of motion (PROM) of the shoulder for the first two to six weeks following surgery.
  • Patients should refrain from actively moving the treated arm away from the body or behind the back.
  • Patients can perform active range of motion at the elbow, wrist, and hand.
  • Patients will not be able to lift heavy objects for the first six to 12 weeks after the operation.
  • Patients can lift very light objects (like a cup or spoon) if the upper arm is kept near the side of their body, and if the movement is limited to only the elbow, wrist, and hand.
  • Most patients can return to an office job within a few weeks, but should expect to make some changes at their desk to allow for easier typing.
  • A few weeks after surgery, patients are usually taught isometric exercises that involve pushing against something, but without moving the arm. This will help contract the muscles, keeping them active, and building strength.
  • Usually after a few weeks, patients will be instructed in active assistive range of motion (AAROM) exercises. This involves moving your arm with some assistance from your other arm.

Six to 12 Weeks after Surgery

After six to 12 weeks, patients can expect improved mobility and comfort.

  • Active range of motion (AROM) exercises usually begin around five to six weeks after surgery. These exercises involve lifting your arm without additional weight.
  • After six weeks, patients tend to notice significant progress, and begin to return to their normal lifestyle.
  • After seven or eight weeks, most patients begin strengthening exercises using bands and hand-held weights.

Twelve Weeks & Beyond

Athletes and other active individuals typically return to high-intensity activities within four to six months after surgery. The time to resume rigorous exercise will depend on the severity of your tear, the extent of the surgery, and how closely you follow post-operative recovery instructions.

Contact Us to Learn More

Dr. Rovner is a leader in his field who has been named one of America’s Top Orthopedists by the Consumers Research Council of America. His advanced care can help you return to the active lifestyle you love. Contact us today to find out why so many patients have trusted Dr. Rovner with their rotator cuff surgery.