Types of Slings Used After Rotator Cuff Surgery

Shoulder slings are standard issue following rotator-cuff surgery. Your ideal sling depends on the severity of your injury and surgery performed. Choosing a sling is a joint decision for you and your doctor.


Shoulder slings come in a variety of styles. The three types most commonly associated with rotator cuff surgeryare standard, elevated and immobilizing. All three are protective, yet each style is designed for a specific purpose.

Standard Sling

Standard slings hold the elbow at 90 degrees, the arm at your side, leaving the wrist and forearm free to move. Standard slings are small, lightweight and inexpensive. For short-term support–seven to 10 days–the standard arm sling is appropriate.

Elevated Sling

Elevated slings hold the elbow at 90 degrees and the arm “elevated” 30 degrees away from your side using a firm pillow. The elevated position is more comfortable for optimal healing and the correct choice if your doctor recommends long-term support. Elevated slings are ideal if you need to wear a sling when sleeping.

Shoulder Immobilizer

Following extensive shoulder surgery where you may require complete immobilization of arm, elbow, and wrist, your doctor may recommend a shoulder-immobilizing sling. Using foam cuffs at the elbow, wrist, and waist this device allows no movement and provides maximum support.


Properly fitting a sling to your shoulder is important for functionality and comfort. Elevated slings and immobilizing slings often require an experienced service provider to make accurate adjustments.