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Old 06-15-2012, 06:10 PM   #1
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Surgery July 3rd for Subacromial Decompression

Hi everyone! I just wanted to share my story with you all and hopefully get some tips and ideas for after surgery. I apologize if this ends up being really long. Itís kind of me venting as well.

It all started 6 months ago in the middle of December 2011. I started having pain out of nowhere and it just got worse. I had originally thought it was just sore from playing Fruit Ninja on the Xbox 360 Kinect. When the pain didn't go away after a couple weeks and started getting a lot worse (hurt to lift my cup) I decided to go ahead and call the Dr. I also worked 10 days in a row covering for a friend during this time which I think made it worse.

I went to my PCP and she was thinking I had bursitis and had me go to PT. She also had me get an X-Ray and an MRI just to rule out a tear. When I got the results of the MRI they said I had partial surface bursal tear and a type 2 acromion.

I went to PT for 4 weeks and felt the pain was getting a lot worse so I went back to my Dr and she gave me a cortisone injection. She told me to see an Ortho to see what they say about it. I went to the Ortho 2 weeks later and didn't even get to see the actual Dr. I saw the PA and she assumed I had bicep tendonitis and said that my first cortisone injection was done incorrectly and gave me another one in the front. Told me to go back in 6 weeks if pain did not get better or got worse. I was pretty upset when I left there because I just knew that's not what was wrong. From there I looked for another surgeon to get a second opinion.

I found a new surgeon and saw him on March 12th. On my first visit to this Dr, he said that it sounded like bursitis and possibly something with my nerves. He sent me back to PT for 4 weeks. Went to PT and was still feeling like I was getting worse. I went back to the surgeon and first saw the PA. The PA did his tests and asked some questions. From there he said he was pretty sure I had a SLAP tear and thought for sure the surgeon would want to do surgery at this point to see whatís going on. I had had 9 weeks of PT at this point. Then the surgeon comes in and is totally against the surgery and tells me how itís not a good idea and there are so many risks with the surgery. That the main risk to surgery is the anesthesia. He then pauses and continues to tell me, ďPeople die!Ē. Tells me that it hasnít happened with him doing the surgery, but it happens. I was furious at this point. Iím not an idiot and I know what the risks are. Iíve had 3 previous surgeries in the past (Appendectomy, Gall Bladder Removed and C-Section with my twins). After all that he tells me to go back to PT for another 4 weeks. When he leaves the room I hear him talking about my appointment. It ended up being him talking into the computer taking his notes. I was furious with this as well. The entire office can hear everything he is saying. Knowing that everyone could hear made me feel very uncomfortable. Needless to say this surgeon ended up being a complete moron. He didn't listen to anything I said and had some information wrong in my chart. I also called my insurance and filed a complaint against him for blabbing my info to the entire office. This date was May 7th.

I went back to PT and searched for a new surgeon during this time. I made another appt at a new office for June 11th. By the time the 11th comes around my PT said that Iím 90% with my strength. Iím still not able to even use a 1 pound weight with some of my exercises. To me thatís a problem when Iíve had 3 Ĺ months of PT. AnyhooÖ I saw the 3rd Surgeon this past Monday on the 11th of June. He was so nice and very compassionate! So happy I went to this place! He read over my chart and looked at my MRI and X-Rays and told me that I do have a tear on my rotator cuff. He said that itís not a normal tear though. He said that they are usually on the bottom of the rotator cuff and mine is on the top. Not really sure what that means exactly. He also said that I have a small bone spur. Dr said at this point with all the PT Iíve done and the fact that Iím still in a lot of pain, itís time to do the surgery (FINALLY!). I feel like Iíve been tortured for the past few months! Heís going to look all over my shoulder and see if thereís anything else that needs to be repaired and heís going to do the subacromial decompression as well. He doesnít know at this point if the tear is going to need to be repaired. Iím just thrilled that someone is finally doing something about it! So now Iím just waiting for my surgery on July 3rd. Canít wait to be on the road to recovery.

Wow, I'm sorry this is so long! Feels good to get it all out though. If anyone has anything they'd like to share or any tips for before or after surgery, I'd really appreciate it. I'm excited and scared all at the same time. Thank you for taking the time to read my experience. *Hugs*

*Edited to change title.*

Last edited by Shan214; 07-13-2012 at 04:48 PM.

 
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:00 AM   #2
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Sounds like you have already been through a lot. Unless they put dye in when they did the MRI you could have a SLAP tear. They are really hard to see without the dye. Glad that you found a good doctor. One thing that is very important is too make sure that you follow doctor's post op directions. You want to get that shoulder gently moving as soon as possible so that it doesn't stiffen. They will tell you exactly what you can do. Get some button front shirts so you don't have to pull anything over your head for a little while. Stay ahead of the pain, by taking your pain medication and ice,ice, ice.

 
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Old 06-16-2012, 11:58 AM   #3
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Thank you so much for replying! Yes, I've been through a lot. I feel like I've been tortured the past few months. Yes, I will definitely follow the Drs instructions. I want to get better as fast as possible. I know my recovery time will all depend on what the surgeon does, but at least I know there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. He said he's going to look all over my shoulder to see if there's anything else that needs to be done. Including my labrum. Thank you for the advice! I plan on getting some tube top dresses and tops. I think that would be easier than buttons since it's my dominate arm being worked on. I'm not very coordinated with my left, so this should be interesting. Lol! I also bought a backrest pillow from Walmart so that I'll be more comfortable. Ice will definitely be my best friend. It's been the only thing that makes me somewhat more comfortable. I know all too well about staying on top of the pain from my past surgeries. My hubby will set his alarm to give me the pain meds every 4 hours. If anyone else has anything to add I'd appreciate it. Thank you guys so much! It makes the waiting period more bearable by talking about it.

 
Old 06-16-2012, 02:13 PM   #4
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

I had a subacromial decompression in 2008 on my dominate arm as well. It was the first surgery for me. My journey was very similar to yours. With all the PT and cortizone, etc... they tried, it was about a year before I actually got my surgery. I was in such pain and had lost so much ROM that I actually felt BETTER immediately after the surgery. I had tons of inflammation, but no actual tears yet so they didn't have to do a "fix". I started post-surgical PT within a couple days of surgery and had most of my ROM back within a few months. To date, I'm still happy with my results.

Good luck with your surgery.
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Old 06-16-2012, 06:05 PM   #5
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Thanks for replying, MountainReader! I'm glad your surgery went well. Makes me feel better. I'll be starting PT 1 week after surgery. At least that's what they've told me so far. I'm sure they won't really know until after my surgery. I'm going to ask for more info about my tear at my pre-op appt on the 28th. I didn't think to really ask anything because I was just happy that he was going to fix me. Lol

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 01:46 PM   #6
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Ok, I have 2 questions for anyone that can answer...

1. How did you ladies shave your underarms and put deodorant on after surgery?

2. What did you do for bras? I plan on wearing tube top shirts and dresses w/o a bra at home, but I'm not sure about the bra part for when I leave the house.

Thanks for your input! :-)

 
Old 06-19-2012, 03:07 PM   #7
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Having had orthopedic surgery myself (not rotator cuff surgury, although I've had rotator cuff bursitis/tendonitis before - no fun at all), here's my strongest recommendation:

After surgery, if you're told to limit activity and use a brace, sling, etc., then do it! The last thing you want is for things to heal badly and/or get scar tissue, etc. I have a friend who had ortho surgery on her foot, but she didn't completely follow instructions for limiting activity, and she ended up needing the surgery re-done a year later. Yuck!

Even if you're not experiencing pain, it's still important to limit use if instructed. It's tempting to assume that if you're not in pain then you can go back to normal activity, but it's a risky assumption. Unfortunately, this might mean taking a break on those video games, especially Fruit Ninja! , but better safe than sorry.

Btw, you're not alone in your experience with "difficult" orthopedists. I hate to say this but I've found that about half of all ortho practitioners (except PTs) tend to be lacking in bedside matter, to put it Very mildly. So you're definitely not alone in this, although it still sucks to go through it. Best thing is to trust your instincts and look for someone you feel confident about and have a decent rapport with. Sorry it took so long, but I'm glad you finally found someone you trust, and who seems to respect you as a person!

This might sound goofy, but when I finally managed to find a good ortho surgeon (great reputation AND not a jerk -what a find), I made a point of telling him how much I liked him and how long it took me to find him. He's pretty modest, so I think he was a little embarrassed I made such a big deal of it, but I still think it's nice for doctors to get positive feedback like this when they really deserve it.

Last edited by BethRogers; 06-19-2012 at 03:18 PM. Reason: fixing a typo-o

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:34 PM   #8
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Hi, BethRogers! Thanks for your reply!

Yes, I will be using a sling. The surgeon said that if he does just a "clean up" job then I'll be in the sling for 2 weeks. If he has to repair anything, I'll be in a sling for 6 weeks. I will definitely be following all instructions given to me. I want to heal as quick as possible. Video games won't be a problem. I haven't done any of that since it happened in December. The only thing I play now is my game on my laptop. Lol! Probably won't be able to do that for awhile either. I'm glad I'm not alone in the findings of jerk Drs, but I hate hearing that other people have gone through what I have gone through. It's been a terrible experience!

So, how did you do the whole underarm and bra thing? Lol!

 
Old 06-19-2012, 03:35 PM   #9
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

I used a stick deodorant and could do both arms with the one hand. As for the bra. I am rather small chested, so I was able to get away with a heavier type cami with a lightweight zip-up sweat shirt over it, my ortho.'s office is always cold. Maybe you could do the tube top and put something over it?

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 03:39 PM   #10
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Oh good! So there's hope for putting on deodorant! Lol! I was stressing about that. What about shaving your underarms?

Yeah, my chest is a little on the big side, so I'm probably just going to have my hubby help me get dressed to go out. I'll really only be going out to my PT appts and my follow-up appts. I do plan on getting a bra that closes in the front so I hope that will help. Thanks for the reply, maggietaz!

 
Old 06-19-2012, 07:32 PM   #11
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shan214 View Post
Ok, I have 2 questions for anyone that can answer...

1. How did you ladies shave your underarms and put deodorant on after surgery?

2. What did you do for bras? I plan on wearing tube top shirts and dresses w/o a bra at home, but I'm not sure about the bra part for when I leave the house.

Thanks for your input! :-)
1. I also used stick deoderant. I either twisted my arm up and did the best I could to cover the area or I put the deoderant on the corner of the counter, balanced it with the hand in the sling and bent down and rubbed my underarm over it. Neither is easy, but it did the job. I also learned another trick. If you get really sweaty and wet under the arm held by the sling, you can take a period pad or liner and place the cotton towards your skin and the adhesive on the inside of your shirt. It helps absorb some of the extra moisture.

2. The first few days when I stayed at home, I wore baggy shirts and did without. After that, I wore front hook bras. I slid the one side up over my bad arm, then the good arm. Hooking was trickier. I could usually pull the cup over my breast, push my bad arm in towards my breast to hold it in place and used my other hand to do the rest of the work. The hard part is finding a good supportive front hook. I've been able to find a good brand on the internet though. I had wrist surgery this year and was in a cast and can't hook behind and I pretty much used the same technique.

As for shaving, I shaved prior to surgery and did without until I could do a soft grip with the hand on my surgical side.
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Last edited by MountainReader; 06-19-2012 at 07:35 PM.

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 07:54 PM   #12
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

I didn't have surgery on my rotator cuff, but I had surgery on my wrist, (sorry if I wasn't clear before). Although I've had rotator cuff problems in the past - not fun.

After my wrist surgery I did have some issues with dressing myself, especially w/ bras, buttons, zippers, etc. And going without a bra is not an option for me. For the bra, what I did was fasten up the bra hooks before I put it on, and then slipped the bra on as if it were a cami or hookless sports bra. I put it over my surgery arm first, then slipped it over my head, then wriggled my good arm into it, and then made some minor adjustments to get the "ladies" situated . I can't quite explain the maneuver, but if you practice ahead of time I think you can figure it out. You might want to adjust (loosen) the soulder straps ahead of time also, depending on where on your shoulder they do the surgery.

I also have a friend who literally Just had rotator cuff surgery, last week. I'll be seeing her on Friday and can ask what she did about bras, etc.

For the deodorant question, it looks like you got some good answers above. As far as shaving, I wonder if maybe it's best to forgo shaving under the arm at least for the first week? Afterall, you won't be lifting that arm much, so it'd be your own little "secret" anyway.

One other thing I'd suggest is to be sure you have some extra pillows on hand, in case you have trouble finding a good sleeping position. For the first week I used about 2 or 3 pillows to get myself in a comfortable enough position where I could fall asleep and not worry about accidentally rolling onto my surgery arm. And I assume you're not planning on having to drive yourself around during week #1, and possibly week #2?

Last edited by BethRogers; 06-19-2012 at 07:56 PM. Reason: type-o

 
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Old 06-19-2012, 11:08 PM   #13
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Thank you so much for the tips, MountainReader! I will definitely have to try those out. I'm sure I'll learn my own little maneuvers along the way as well. Makes it a lot less scary hearing from others though. Yeah, I'm thinking I may go without shaving for the first week maybe. I probably won't really care at that point anyways. Lol! One nice thing is that I've had a few laser treatments on my underarms so the hair doesn't grow back quite as fast. Hopefully that will help me out. :-) Thanks again for all the info!


Oh, I'm sorry, BethRogers! I must have misunderstood what you were saying. Good idea on loosening up the straps! That probably won't feel the best. I've already started buying more pillows. I bought a backrest pillow as well. Using it now actually! Very comfy! ;-) Not to mention pretty stylish, being zebra print. Lol! My daughter actually stole it from me today. I told her not to get used to it! Hahaha! No, I will not be driving for quite some time. That will depend on how long I'm in the sling I suppose. I'm sure the Dr will tell me when I'm allowed to drive again. I don't think I'll be in a hurry to drive anyways. I'll be scared of hurting myself by accident! :-O

 
Old 06-20-2012, 05:00 PM   #14
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

Shan
When I had my labrum surgery the end of January, I slept in a recliner for almost three weeks, so just want to worn you that it may be hard to get comfortable. The wedge pillow is a good idea, as well as other pillows that you can prop yourself up with. It takes quite awhile before you can sleep normally again.

 
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Old 06-20-2012, 06:03 PM   #15
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Re: Surgery July 3rd for Rotator Cuff Tear and Subacromial Decompression

I definitely plan on propping myself up with lots of pillows. I'm hoping I can manage propping myself up in bed. The recliner we have is not comfortable at all. I'm sure I'll have to try several different things before I'm somewhat comfortable. Not looking forward to the sleeping.. err.. not sleeping part. Lol! Thanks for the reply, maggietaz!

On another note, my surgeon's office called today to tell me about insurance stuff and she also told me exactly what he was thinking about doing. He's doing the Subacromial Decompression for sure. He may do the repair on the rotator cuff and he also might do a procedure called Bicep Tenodesis. When he was examining my shoulders he said I had dimpling on my right shoulder when I extend my arm out in front of me. Not exactly sure what that means... I'll have to ask some questions at my pre-op next week.

 
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