How do I Recover from a Mumford Procedure?

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  • Written By: Jacquelyn Gilchrist
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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A Mumford procedure is a surgical technique to repair an injured or worn acromioclavicular (AC) joint in the shoulder. Patients are able to return home the same day of the surgery. Physical therapy will begin almost immediately to restore mobility and strength. A sling will be needed for several weeks to support the affected arm. Assuming that no complications develop, most patients should expect to return to a low activity level within 10 days, with a full recovery time of about three to four months.

This procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia. Immediately after a Mumford procedure, patients will be taken to a recovery room for monitoring and to allow the effects of the anesthesia to wear off. Once they are released from the hospital, they must have someone else drive them home. Patients should expect to refrain from driving for several weeks. They will not be able to drive until they have full mobility in that arm, they no longer need to wear a sling, and they are no longer taking pain medication.


Pain medication will be prescribed for patients to alleviate discomfort. It is essential to follow all dosing instructions carefully and to contact the doctor if any severe or bothersome side effects are experienced. Before taking any medications, patients must disclose their other medical conditions and any other drugs they take. Since stomach upset can occur with medications, some patients may wish to consume broth and toast on the first day before attempting to eat less bland foods. In addition to pain medication, patients are encouraged to apply ice to the area for 20 minutes at a time to reduce the swelling.

After a Mumford procedure, there is a risk of patients developing mucus buildup in the lungs and possibly post-anesthetic pneumonia. For the next few weeks, patients are encouraged to practice deep breathing at least three times daily. They should take several deep breaths and try to cough often to clear the mucus.

While patients will need to wear a sling for about three weeks after a Mumford procedure, they are strongly encouraged to faithfully follow their physical therapy program. Engaging in gentle mobility exercises is essential for a full recovery. Before they leave the recovery room, patients will do a few simple exercises, including flexing the fingers and wrist. They will continue to do these flexing exercises throughout the day of the procedure and the following day.

Usually, patients will meet with a physical therapist on the third day of recovery. They can expect to engage in grip strengthening exercises and range-of-motion movements for the elbow and wrist. Pendulum exercises are also useful, in which the patient bends at the waist, allowing the arm to hang freely. He will then slowly, gently swing the arm in small circles and back and forth.

Most people may return to a low activity level within 10 days following a Mumford procedure. Work may be resumed if it is not physically demanding. A moderate physical activity level may be possible within three to four weeks. Some patients in very demanding occupations, such as construction, may need a full three to four months of recovery.

After a Mumford procedure, patients should be alert to the signs of possible complications. Call your physician if you experience a fever, a rash, or severe nausea and vomiting. Unusual drainage or redness at the incision site should also be reported. Calf pain may be indicative of a blood clot, another possible complication. Maintaining mobility can help prevent blood clots.


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