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Shoulder / Rotator Cuff Problems Message Board
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:18 AM   #1
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Recent Shoulder Surgery

Two and a half weeks ago I had surgery for a full-thickness, complete tear of my rotator cuff. Prior to the surgery I spent a good deal of time researching to find out what to expect. I have to say that, after reading about the horror stories I was petrified that I was going to be in agonizing pain following the surgery.

Now, I'm not going to say that it was a pleasant surgery, or that there weren't some periods that I was in agony. What I will say is that the most intolerable pain became manageable when I took narcotic pain pills as prescribed, AND ibuprofen in between the doses of narcotics. So, if the pain meds were taken at noon, and were prescribed for four hour intervals, I would take the ibuprofen at two o'clock.....narcotics again at four, and so on. ICE is extremely vital as well. I find that pillow placement is really important also.

I won't say that I'd ever want to go through this surgery again, and I know I have a long recovery ahead of me. But, I want people that are facing this surgery to know that pain control for the worse of it can be managed. (At least it was for me.)

As of today (18 days after my surgery) I am taking one pain pill before my shower, and one before bed. I occasionally take one during the night. About once a day I take ibuprofen. I still sleep in a recliner, and I can only take the sling off for showering and to do passive exercises three times a day. My husband helps me dress in the morning, and I wear loose fitting, elastic waist pants and button or zipped shirts and sweaters. I am able to use the bathroom unassisted (THANK GOD!!!!)

I'm not going to try to give the correct terminology, because I can't reach the discharge papers, but this is what I remember the surgeon telling my husband that I had repairs on:
Full thickness, complete tear of the rotator cuff
SLAP tear
Distal clavicle excision
Humeral head debrided
Correction of impingement of deltoid insertion

I hope I haven't downplayed the enormity of the pain and discomfort of these procedures. I just want people that are researching this type of surgery to get another perspective. Good Luck! I'll give periodic progress reports as I recover.
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Old 01-17-2012, 11:17 AM   #2
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Re: Recent Shoulder Surgery

hey krazykcio --- read your 1/3 report of your post surgery two weeks from rotator surgery..........and feeling ever so happy for you that the pain at that time was so tolerable............. i cannot help but think of you now, since i know that once you hit pt on a regular 2 to 3 times a week, the stretches and strengthening can be extremely challenging........ love to hear how you are doing.

 
Old 01-17-2012, 05:55 PM   #3
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Re: Recent Shoulder Surgery

Hi

I had a bit of a set-back right after I wrote my post of 1/3. I had gone for my post-op appointment on 12/29. At that time I had an xray taken. The PA noticed that there was an anchor that was in a wierd place. She told me that she was present in the OR,and didn't remember the surgeon putting the anchor in that spot. She told me that she would show the xray to the surgeon, and would call me if there was a problem. She also told me that I wouldn't begin PT until after my next post-op appt., since they had done very extensive work, and wanted me to heal more. I was told to continue doing the passive exercises that I began on day one.

On 1/4 the PA called and told me that the surgeon wanted me to come in that day. The surgeon told me that an anchor had come loose, and that I had to go back to have it removed, and that he would try to find another place to anchor. (I have significant bone loss, and he had to find an area of stronger bone.) I had my second surgery the next day, which was 1/5. The surgeon was able to place a larger, hence stronger anchor in another area.

Obviously, the second surgery caused a bit of a set-back, but the first surgery had involved a great deal of bone scraping, sawing and smoothing. I feel like the set-back was only about a week. I will see the surgeon this coming Friday. I hope everything is progressing as it should so that I can start the next phase. One advantage I have is that the surgeon did manipulation of my arm/shoulder while I was under general anesthesia, so many of the normal adhesions have been worked out.

So, that's the long way of saying that I still don't know how painful PT will be for me. As of right now, my pendulums are much less uncomfortable, as are the other four exercises they have me doing.

Also, come to find out, the surgeon doesn't recommend taking ibuprofen post-op, because it slows down the healing process (who knew?!?) So, it was back to Tylenol, which isn't as effective, but still helps.

Thank you for checking in with me.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:15 AM   #4
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Re: Recent Shoulder Surgery

Update: It has been just about seven weeks after the first surgery, and five weeks after the second. As of today, I can do the 90 degree wall crawl, pendulums, can reach behind my back to within about 2" of my mid-back. I can also do three other exercises that my Doc wants me to do, but I can't remember the names. I am able to do these exercises with minimal pain. I have only taken pain meds 2-3 times in the past week. I feel hopeful.

Interestingly, my surgeon doesn't recommend having his shoulder patients start PT until at least 6 weeks post-surgery. He said that it's the new strategy, because it helps to prevent re-tearing of the surgical repairs, because the hardware is given a chance to anchor. His feeling is that the patient needs to slowly heal, while doing passive exercises that prevent freezing of the shoulder. He said that, because of the post-op pain level, patients tense up as the PT is trying to do even passive stretches, for fear of increased pain. I'm not sure if his strategy will mean that PT will be less painful, but my PT told me that she agrees with the Doc, and that she has much better results with this strategy.

I will definitely report back once I start PT. Meanwhile, I hope each of you has a pain-free day.
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Old 02-09-2012, 08:51 AM   #5
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Re: Recent Shoulder Surgery

Krazycio
Congrats on getting through the first seven weeks sorry for you're set back. Question for you, I had a slap repair done two weeks ago and my husband is doing just two passive rom exercises with me. Sounds like you have been doing something similar. Do you have pain when doing the exercises? I have quite a bit of pain when trying to do the one where my husband raises my arm up, not out to the side. Surgeon is out of town till next week, so I am going to back off the exercise again and use the ice and pain pills. I am supposed to start PT on the 21st of Feb which is 4weeks after surgery.

 
Old 02-09-2012, 10:17 AM   #6
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Re: Recent Shoulder Surgery

Hi Maggietaz,

I'm not sure how similar my repairs are to yours, but my surgeon told me not to raise my arm above my head, and not to do what I call the "chicken dance" motion. I had a distal clavicle excision, rotator cuff repair, a subcromial decompression done. The second surgery was to remove an anchor that had dislodged, and to reanchor it. You may want to call your Doctor's office to clarify what motion you should be doing if there's even a little confusion. I hope he/she can help you to do it with as little pain as possible. K
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