FAQ

Questions for Your First Visit

What information should I bring?
What should I wear?
What will occur during my first visit?
Will I need surgery?
Do I need to book a follow-up appointment?

Questions Following Shoulder Arthroscopy

How much pain will I have?
How much swelling and bruising will there be?
How many incisions will I have?
How much drainage and bleeding will there be and when can I change the dressing?
How often do I need to wear the sling?
Can I use my arm to eat or write?
When can I take a bath or shower?
When can I drive?
How can I get comfortable to sleep?
When will I start my physical therapy?
What will be my home exercises to perform prior to physical therapy?
When should I return to work?
Who should I contact if I think I have a problem?

Questions about our Medical Travel Option with Global MedChoices

How do I know if I qualify for arthroscopic shoulder surgery in the Turks and Caicos with Dr. Lo?
Who helps me organize my trip?
Who will decide whether I am a surgical candidate?
How fast can I get my surgery?
How much will the surgery cost?
Do I have to do any tests before surgery?
Who will take care of my shoulder after surgery?


Questions for Your First Visit

What information should I bring?
It is important to collect all important information so that Dr Lo may review these during your visit. This includes any copies of reports, CDs of diagnostic imaging studies you may have had previously, including: x-rays, ultrasounds, CAT scans, bone scans, and MRI’s. In addition a list of medical problems (e.g. hypertension, cardiac disease) and medications is helpful.

What should I wear?
It is important to wear comfortable clothing that exposes your shoulder during your visit so that Dr Lo may examine your shoulders completely. A tank top, racer top, or athlete top will commonly suffice.

What will occur during my first visit?
At your first visit Dr Lo will review your history, physical exam, diagnostic imaging and previous treatments. Dr Lo will educate you with respect to your diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In some cases Dr Lo may require further investigations to determine your diagnosis. A treatment plan will be formulated and will be discussed with you.

Will I need surgery?
Although you will be seeing a shoulder surgeon, in many cases shoulder conditions may be treated conservatively without surgery. This may include such modalities such as rest, activity modification, medications, injections, or physical therapy. Alternatively, in some cases conditions are urgent and surgery may be critical in restoring function. However, if surgery is considered, Dr Lo will have a discussion of the relative risk and benefits of surgery and other alternative treatment options.

Do I need to book a follow-up appointment?
At the end of your appointment Dr Lo will discuss with you the treatment plan and the need for follow-up. Please contact Dr Lo’s office administrator to book all follow-up appointments.

Questions Following Shoulder Arthroscopy

How much pain will I have?

Following surgery most patients will experience a variable amount of pain. This is dependent on what type of surgery you have had and how your body reacts to surgery. Your doctor will give you a prescription for pain medication following surgery to control your pain.

You may also apply intermittent ice (or frozen peas, etc.) to the shoulder to relieve pain. This is most helpful in the first 72 hrs. Never apply ice directly over the skin. Wrap it in a towel or cloth. You may apply ice for 15-20 minutes every hour. If you feel you are having an extraordinary amount of pain following surgery despite taking medication please contact your doctor.

How much swelling and bruising will there be?

Following shoulder arthroscopy there will be a significant amount of swelling in the shoulder. This is due to the surgery itself but mostly due to the arthroscopy fluid, which is used to expand the joint. It is not uncommon for the swelling and bruising to travel down the arm into the forearm and hand and also into the chest and thorax. To help with the swelling you should perform simple hand, wrist and elbow exercises several times a day. If you feel you are having an extraordinary amount of swelling or bruising following surgery, please contact your doctor.

How many incisions will I have?

Shoulder arthroscopy is performed through small puncture (1 cm) incisions through the skin. Depending on what procedure you have performed you may have anywhere from 2 to 10 small incisions. Most patients have 3 to 6 small puncture incisions.

How much drainage and bleeding will there be and when can I change the dressing?

Since shoulder arthroscopy is performed by expanding the joint using fluid, this fluid must drain out of the shoulder after surgery. After shoulder arthroscopy a bulky dressing will cover the wound to soak up this drainage. It is not uncommon for the dressing to become saturated with fluid. This fluid may be lightly blood tinged but for the most part represents drainage of arthroscopy fluid and not blood. If the dressing becomes saturated it may be reinforced with more gauze or changed. Otherwise, the dressing may be changed 24 hours after surgery and usually may be covered with simple bandages. It is not uncommon to have a small amount of drainage from the puncture wounds, which may be covered with a small amount of gauze and tape. You should change your dressing as often as it gets dirty (i.e. accidentally wet in the shower) and at least once a day until the wounds appears dry and healed. You can clean the area around the wounds with a clean cloth or alcohol pad. Usually there will be small white tapes across each puncture wound (called SteriStrips), which help keep the wounds clean and opposed. These will commonly fall off on their own (usually 1-2 weeks). If there are still there after two weeks you may gently peel them off. If you feel you are having any extraordinary amount of drainage, or thick blood is draining from your wound please contact your doctor.

How often do I need to wear the sling?

This depends on what type of surgery you have had. In general, if you have had a repair (e.g. rotator cuff repair, labral repair, instability repair) then the sling is worn for 3 to 6 weeks. During thi time you should wear your sling 100% of the time (including sleeping) unless you are doing your exercises, taking a shower, or sitting comfortably. For example if you are watching television on the sofa you may take your sling off and rest your arm in a comfortable position or if your wish to type on a computer or write you may sit at a desk, take your sling off, rest your arm on the desk and type or write. However, when you are up and walking even if in the house, it is safest to use your sling to avoid any inadvertent injury (i.e. fall, sudden motions)

If you have had only a decompression type procedure (e.g. subacromial decompression, acromioplasty, distal clavicle excision) or a procedure to gain motion (e.g. capsular release for frozen shoulder) then your sling is for comfort only. You may take your sling off as soon as possible and begin moving your shoulder. If you are having trouble wearing your sling please contact your doctor.

Can I use my arm to eat or write?

You can gently use your operated arm to eat. It is easiest to slip your arm out of the sling and use your hand to feed yourself by bending at the elbow. Keep your the elbow at the side and do not reach or do anything away from your body (e.g. picking up a plate, cutting tough meat) or lift anything heavy (i.e. no more than a coffee cup).

When can I take a bath or shower?

Generally, you should not take a bath (i.e. soak the wound) until the wound is completely healed which may take up to 3 weeks. However, you may shower or sponge bath 24 hours after surgery. You may take your arm out of the sling when taking a shower and support the arm and its weight using the opposite arm or with a homemade cloth sling. For the first 5 days, the wounds must be kept dry by using a garbage bag or taping Saran wrap over the shoulder. After 5 days, you can shower by gently and briefly letting the water run over the shoulder. Do not scrub the area. After taking a shower pat the wounds dry with a clean towel and reapply new bandages. It is important to keep the axilla (i.e. armpit) of the operated shoulder clean and dry. To clean the axilla, do not try to lift the arm or elbow away from the body using the muscles of the shoulder. Instead it is easier to lean towards the operated side and let the arm gently dangle away from the body supporting the arm. You can then wash and dry the axilla.

When can I drive?

Depending on your surgery, Dr Lo will determine how long you should be protected in your sling. This may be from 3 to 6 weeks. It is unsafe to drive during this time. After your sling is discontinued it is recommended not to drive a vehicle until your operated arm is consistently and comfortably out of its sling. For some patients this may be another week or two.

How can I get comfortable to sleep?

Some patients have difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep. For many patients it is easiest to sleep in a reclining chair or propped up with pillows in bed. This seems to relax the shoulder for many patients and can be easier to position the sling. If you sleep on your back it may help to place a small pillow behind the elbow or shoulder to help support the weight of the shoulder. If you sleep on your side (the operated side up) then it may help to place a pillow between your arms. When you are getting in and out of a bed or chair, try not to use your operated arm to push down.

When will I start my physical therapy?

Dr Lo will discuss with you when formal physical therapy will be required. In most cases, formal physical therapy will not begin until after your first follow-up visit. However, Dr Lo will instruct you on your home exercise program to be perform immediately after surgery.

What will be my home exercises to perform prior to physical therapy?

Dr Lo will instruct you on when and which exercise to specifically perform
following shoulder arthroscopy. This will be depend on what type of
surgery was performed.

Download Early Post Op Arthroscopy Rehab PDF

When should I return to work?

This usually depends on the type of work you do, how much pain you are in, and what type of surgery you have had. In general, most patients do not work until they are seen back in the clinic about 2 to 3 weeks after surgery. After this most patients are able to tolerate either single-handed work (i.e. answering the phone) or light deskwork duties only. After this your ability to work and your specific job duties will depend on your type of surgery and your rehabilitation progress. Please remember that it is unsafe to drive during your period of sling immobilization. However, you should contact your doctor to ask specifically about your job and when you can return.

Who should I contact if I think I have a problem?

Dr Lo is here to help you. Please contact his office if you have any problems, questions or concerns.

Questions about our Medical Travel Option with Global MedChoices

How do I know if I qualify for arthroscopic shoulder surgery in the Turks and Caicos with Dr. Lo?
Please schedule a pre-operative visit with Dr. Lo and he will determine your condition.

Who helps me organize my trip?
Global MedChoices will handle all of your travel, accommodation and concierge needs from Calgary to the Turks and Caicos and back. Global MedChoices is a medical travel company focused on offering orthopaedic patients an option for high quality and affordable orthopaedic care in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Who will decide whether I am a surgical candidate?
You will need to schedule an appointment with Dr. Lo in Calgary for him to determine if you are a candidate for the surgical options in the Turks and Caicos Islands.

How fast can I get my surgery?
Call Global MedChoices at 877.439.7848 to ask when Dr. Lo’s next surgical round in the Turks and Caicos Islands is scheduled.

How much will the surgery cost?
Global MedChoices is among the most affordable medical travel companies in the world for quality orthopaedic procedures. Each procedure carries a different price point. Please contact Global MedChoices at 877.439.7848 to inquire.

Do I have to do any tests before surgery?
Yes. As standard with any medical procedure, we may need to collect a variety of tests including but not limited to: x-rays, blood tests, urine test, nose swab, EKG, etc.

Who will take care of my shoulder after surgery?
Dr. Lo will manage your entire continuum of care beginning in Calgary, to being your surgeon in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and back in Calgary while you are in physical therapy.