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Old 01-20-2012, 01:32 AM   #1
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Smile Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Sorry to have to ask so many questions but I need your help with some details about life post-surgery. I am tired of my shoulder dislocating all the time and it is now time to do something about it. So from what I have read, this is an estimate of the timeline after surgery.

Day 1: Surgery and hopefully they will give me the block that will eliminate the pain from when I awake. This last on average how many hours? And how long will I stay in the hospital- a few hours- or up to 24?

Day 2 until week 2- I bascially am inactive and should be on painkillers for every 4 hours. Will this be the dull annoying pain that I am already used to or excrutiating sharp pain? Am I supposed to keep my shoulder completely immobilized?

Week 2 or 3- Passive PT, they will stretch my arm and make me cry-right? this lasts til about week 6.

Week 5 or 6ish- I should be able to stop the painkillers and take my arm out of the sling and can do more active PT. Can I start doing some mild lower body exercises also?

Week 6 to 12- Constant PT- how many times per week is this?

Week 12- I should be a bit normal, does PT end, do I do it at home, or do I continue at the clinic?

6 months- I should be able to do wall push-ups, jog, and have things a bit more normal. Maybe I can get my surgery on the other shoulder during this time.

I also do not want to gain too much weight during the inactivity. I can live on a vegetarian and no sugar diet easily and reduce my calories no problem, but when can I start taking easy strolls, easy stair climbing, do gentle squats, maybe my ballet exercise videos while being careful not to move my arm? Can I do this as early as week 2 ( very gently)?

Also- the only English speaking PT in my city might not be the best. Do you think that I can manage maybe my 2nd or 3rd week at PT without dragging my husband or friend to translate? I can speak the language somewhat but not really at an intermediate level, but I can cram some medical vocab at the moment and possibly do OK. Do I need lots of verbal communication with this person after the first week or so? If I go to the States for PT- how much would an average session cost? Will it be under $100? I have all the medical expenses taken care of over here.

The Azerbaijani government charges Georgia an arm and a leg for natural gas. Our bill was over $200 for our some flat in Dec. We just keep the flat quite cold, will this inhibate my recovery, do I need to warm up my home better?

Sorry for all the questions, but I don't always have access to English speakers for such details and of course the only ones who I do have access to involves the surgeon who wants my money (but is good). The English speaking PT here kind of scares me after I heard him screaming at someone on his phone, so I dunno about this dude!

Thanks in advance, many hugs!

 
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Old 01-20-2012, 01:38 PM   #2
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Tymala....it really depends on how your doc does the surgery. I had my right shoulder done 7 years ago and here is what I had.

Day 1: surgery was a noon and I did get the nerve block as well as a light general anesthetic and I woke up about 3 hours later with my arm in a sling and kept pretty well in one place. Was kept in the hospital until about 10pm as I couldn't drink without throwing up. Once I could drink and urinate, I went home.

Day 2: I was sore but the nerve block kept my shoulder so comfortable, I never took a single pain pill.

Week 2: my doc told me that after the first week, I was to take my arm out of the sling and let it hang down and let it swing in small circles to keep the muscles loose. I did this several times a day for a minute or 2.

Week 3: started PT but it was passive PT where they moved my shoulder for me, very gently. If it hurt, they stopped. the doc didn't want anything to cause pain as that meant the possibility of inflammation and that could cause the tendon to tear again.

Week 6: stopped the passive PT and arm came out of sling. At this point, the doc let me go back to work but no lifting anything and I had to be very careful. No more PT until 3 months post-op.

3 months post-op: started PT again but this time it was to strengthen the muscles so I did weights and stretching cords and all sorts of exercises to regain full strength to my arm. Did that for 2 months and at the end, I was stronger than before surgery.

No problems since then.

The latest way to treat a torn rotator cuff is to let it heal for the first 3 months but keeping the shoulder muscles moving with the daily movement(those little circles really helped) and then normal daily activities but being very careful and not holding anything in that arm. Then you can begin the hard job of getting back full strength.

From what I've read, the hard part is being patient while the tendon heals the blood supply is well re-established. If you exercise too soon, you can rupture the tendon easily until it is better healed. They used to have you exercise right away but found that the chance of a re-tear was much greater than if you wait about 3 months and then strengthen. The trick is to make sure you don't allow your shoulder muscles to freeze during the healing period. That is why doc insisted I take my arm out of the sling and let it just hang down but rotate it in circles That means it uses the shoulder muscles and not the muscles that attach to the rotator cuff tendons. The rotator cuff muscles move the upper arm bone itself...if you turn your arm so your thumb is facing forward and then turn it to the inside until your thumb points back...that is the muscles of the rotator cuff. When you just let your arm hang down and go in circles, those muscles aren't used and the upper arm bone stays in the same position as you do the circles.

That was my experience. Everything was done through the scope and I only had 4-5 tiny incisions. If they have to cut open the shoulder, then it is very different and I'll ask someone else to share their experience with that procedure.

good luck.................Jenny

 
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Old 01-21-2012, 10:21 AM   #3
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Thanks Jenny! Can I go on gentle walks or do any small lower body movements to prevent weight gain? My last dislocation was 4 months ago and I havent done any exercise since and have gained alot of weight. Or do I just have to be completely inactive. On the flip side, I am looking forward to the reading and laziness ahead of me. It seems that you experienced this with little pain.

I will have to have the open surgery so I guess that is more intensive. I will have to have both shoulders done, but I guess the second shoulder after 6 months or so. It seems that you have not had miserable pain- I can deal with the dull pain or the kind similar to what I have now, I just want those tendons tightened. I am so tired of worrying about dislocations!

 
Old 01-22-2012, 04:56 PM   #4
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

I want to give advice, but i need more information on if he is doing just your rotator cuff repair or a labrum repair or what he is exactly doing surgery on or if he gave you the name of the surgery. I've had 3 rotator cuff surgeries, 2 to remove part of the collar bone due to calcium build up, and a labrum repair. I'd be more than happy to give you more info if you can give me more details. Also when will your surgery be?

 
Old 01-23-2012, 09:04 AM   #5
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Well, I will have to get my MRI's to see which arm is worse. One shoulder does not pop out but is in pain often and I can't lift it overhead without pain and the other one has limited pain but dislocates often. The dislocating one is horrible when it happens. I think it is a medium to minor tear (but no MRI as of yet) and neither will be the labrum or collarbone, just the cuffs I believe. But in the end, I think I will need it on both shoulders (( He has recommended the open surgery.

 
Old 01-23-2012, 11:09 AM   #6
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Most do not do open surgery anymore unless they are an old school doctor or unless it's a collar bone that needs trimmed. Anyway, I will give you some info on how my supraspinatus surgery went. Before you read this just remember this is just my opinion and we still need to know what is wrong with your shoulder. Do you know when you will get your MRI?

Day one of Surgery. After waking up I had a pain pump so I was feeling hardly no pain. I couldn't move my hand due to the hand being numb from the pain pump.

Day 2: Still not much pain due to pain pump. Sleeping was not comfortable, because I'm a toss and turn sleeper. So I got about 4 hours sleep the first night and four hours the second night.

Day 3: Pain pump ran out so I went to taken hydrocodone and I would rate the pain around a 7 out of 10. I would only take 1-2 pills a day since I have a high tolerance for pain. Still didn't sleep well. Best to sleep in a recliner for the first 2-3 weeks. Ice it down as much as you can. Ice is your best friend.All of this went on for about a week.

Day 7: Pain went down to a 5 out of 10 and I stopped taking hydrocodone after day 4. I was finally up to 5 hours of sleep

I finally started sleeping 8 hours around week 2. At week three I started therapy and the first week was tough so I had to take a hydrocodone an hour before therapy and then after. For my surgery it took me a total of about 3-4 months to recover. Don't push it to much. Listen to the therapist as they will give you exercises to do at home as well to help you. I can't give you to much more info until we know what is wrong with you. Hope that helps a little

 
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Old 01-23-2012, 09:01 PM   #7
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Oh that scares me because he has stated that he has the best results with open surgery, but then again, I am in a developing country. Crap! Our insurance refunds everything after we pay first, so if I did everything in the States before our reimbursement while staying with my mom, then it will cost a fortune with the MRI's and surgery. I think I have to have the old school way as my only choice perhaps. I also have people to take care of me post-surgery over here vs the States. I wish I had a "good arm" but I don't, both are messed up. If I do open surgery, (which I probably have no choice), will I still have the same post-op issues as everyone else?

 
Old 01-24-2012, 05:51 AM   #8
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Open surgery is still used in the states here but not often plus it depends what is being done.. They do a lot of arthroscopic surgery, because it heals a little faster and when I had open vs arthroscopic I had better results with less pain as well and quicker healing. Usually around the 2nd or 3rd day you can go for short walks and little things like that. What country are you in and did the doctor give you a name of your surgery or tell you what he is going to repair? It is very important to know what he is going in to repair, so please let me know and I can help more. If you didn't have an MRI how does he know what's wrong?

 
Old 01-24-2012, 07:22 AM   #9
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

The block ususally lasts until the next day. I went home after the surgery. You do not stay on narcotic pain pills for 6 weeks or take round the clock. A special splint is used to immobilize the shoulder and arm and you use ice on it to prevent swelling and help with pain. You usually do not start passive PT until after seeing doc 10 days. I went to PT 3 times a week for about 5 weeks, saw doc again and allowed to start active PT at PT and learned exercises which I could do at home. I used very little pain med and had my knee arthroscopically done at same time to fix meniscal tear. I am 4 months and still working on exercises for strengthening and doing well.

 
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Old 01-24-2012, 12:20 PM   #10
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Whichisdead
What did you have done?

 
Old 01-24-2012, 12:41 PM   #11
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

I live in the Republic of Georgia ( Stalin's home country) and I will get my MRI this week I hope, but both arms arms messed up-only the rotator cuffs though and I believe a medium tear on both. I found a surgeon with great English, but I think I will get it done in the U.S because he will do open surgery and the stress of trying to speak russian to the nurses while doped up in the hospital will be terrible . I found a hospital that will give me a good deal if I pay cash! Who knew! How much does the average physical therapy session cost in the States? Renegade, what part of TX are you from? I will probably get everything done in Abilene. But my 3 months PT will have to be in Republic of Georgia again. Thanks everyone!!! I still might have to do this my current country and might need some further help, but you guys are great!

 
Old 01-24-2012, 05:42 PM   #12
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

I live a little more then an hour fro Abilene. Once you get your MRI you can let everyone know if it is a small tear or a full one or something else. How are you able to come to Texas, cause you said you were tight for money? What is the doctors nae in Abilene?

 
Old 01-24-2012, 06:06 PM   #13
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Ouch. I had it done some time ago and it was the non- dominant arm. The pain block lasted well for roughly 12 hours. (I also had a ***** of a nurse who told me because I didn't at that stage, need any extra pain relief, that I didn't have to be a hero) .I did need physiotherapy and after 6 weeks I had a frozen shoulder becauses I wasn't doing enough exercise. That's the last thing you want so if the physio gives you home exercises do them regularly and without straining. I hate to tell you this but at times I was flat out pulling up my pants going to the toilet. I was desperate to try and clean the shower recess and did it two days after surgery, but paid for it the next day. To spray my deodorant under my arm I had to stretch and place my left arm on bathroom wall. You migh do really well. Do not plan though, on other surgery until you've completely gotten over the rotator injury. Good luck.

 
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Old 01-24-2012, 07:12 PM   #14
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tymala View Post
I live in the Republic of Georgia ( Stalin's home country) and I will get my MRI this week I hope, but both arms arms messed up-only the rotator cuffs though and I believe a medium tear on both. I found a surgeon with great English, but I think I will get it done in the U.S because he will do open surgery and the stress of trying to speak russian to the nurses while doped up in the hospital will be terrible . I found a hospital that will give me a good deal if I pay cash! Who knew! How much does the average physical therapy session cost in the States? Renegade, what part of TX are you from? I will probably get everything done in Abilene. But my 3 months PT will have to be in Republic of Georgia again. Thanks everyone!!! I still might have to do this my current country and might need some further help, but you guys are great!
The cheapest and the best is having it done in India, probably a sixth of the price of America.
James

 
Old 01-25-2012, 05:52 AM   #15
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Re: Help! Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline Questions.

Arthroscopic repair of rotator cuff tear with small incision and arthrscopic repair of two meniscus tears in my knee.

 
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