When can I return to work after a shoulder reconstruction?

For a sedentary job, you can expect the recovery time to be two to three weeks. For a more physically demanding job, you may need up to three months to fully recover.

Post-operative recovery

After the operation, you will have to keep your arm in a sling for a few weeks to encourage the healing process and minimize movement. Pain will vary from person to person and depend on the extent of the repair to the shoulder. The frequent application of cold packs to the area will help to reduce the swelling and the pain. A physiotherapist can provide advice on how to carry out everyday tasks after surgery and organize follow-up outpatient physiotherapy sessions.

Returning to work is heavily dependent on a patient's general health and the physical demands of a job

It will take time for you to get back to your normal activities. Driving and other activities that don't put your shoulder under strain may be resumed after six weeks when you regain your full movement range and your surgeon says it’s OK.

The precise amount of time needed to be off from work after rotator cuff surgery can vary from 3-6 weeks, depending on your occupation and the type of work you perform. Your doctor will let you know if you can return to work depending on your situation and how much physical activity is involved in your work. Physical therapy may also start at this point. It is important to keep your follow-up visits with your surgeon and perform your therapy exercises as advised.

Need help?

Shoulder reconstruction surgery is available at Cedars-Sinai Marina del Rey Hospital to help relieve patients of restricted movement and pain. Although the majority of our patients are complication-free, it does not mean that everyone will have the same outcome, and you must be aware of these risks prior to making a decision, which is why we will ensure you are fully informed prior to your decision to go ahead with the surgery.


Disclaimer: We do not assume responsibility for the use of the provided information or its interpretation. Our efforts are towards providing current and reliable information; however these should not be considered, or used as a substitute for diagnosis or treatment.

Source: https://www.cedars-sinai.edu/Education/Medical-Library/