What Does Recovery from Rotator Cuff Surgery Involve?

After rotator cuff surgery, patients will experience pain in and surrounding the operated area. They will be prescribed pain relief medication to address discomfort and will be provided further instructions for proper post-operatory care.

During this period, patients will likely require assistance with daily activities. It's recommended to refrain from sleeping on the operated area for 6 weeks and avoid lifting any objects for up to 12 weeks

Stages of Recovery

  • 1 to 6 weeks – During the first phase, the operated shoulder will require a sling to keep it immobilized, promoting tendon healing. Activity isn't usually allowed except for prescribed therapeutic exercises, and advancing to the next recovery step will depend on the physician's expert opinion.
  • 6 to 12 weeks – The second phase of recovery will primarily focus on physical therapy. Light activities may be resumed, and physicians will recommend exercises to regain muscle control and movement. 
  • +12 weeks – At this stage, most patients can increase activity level and include exercises to regain shoulder strength and range of motion gradually. It's best to closely follow the physician's recommendations and not overexert the recovering shoulder. 

Periodic checkups will ensure that the healing process is unaffected, and patients can generally expect steady progress to pre-injury activities after 6 months

The long-term outlook is generally favorable; however, factors such as age, smoking, and more significant injuries may affect recovery requiring additional time to heal.