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Old 01-29-2013, 08:44 AM   #1
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frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Hi everyone,

my MRI shows possible rotator cuff small tears, and a superior labral tear with posterosuperior extension and diffuse labral degeneration. And tendentious and arthritis, of course. Did PT for 8 weeks, seemed to help at first, but then started to hurt again, and they told me to discontinue.

Just saw my shoulder doc again yesterday, says my shoulder is badly frozen, and next step is either a cortisone shot to kill the pain and work the hell out of it in PT, or proceed right to surgery. He thinks surgery is the way to go.

What's news to me is that he wouldn't be operating on the labral tear, and probably not the rotator cuff tears, either. "We don't do surgery on SLAP tears in someone your age (50), and not on the rotator either, unless it is really bad. We'll cut one of the heads of the bicep to unfreeze the shoulder, then you have to work the hell out if it in PT."

Needless to say, that was stunning, and scary. So, any of you guys with experience in this area heard of this? My instinct is to not do it, cutting my bicep sounds like an extreme solution, to say the least.

He did say frozen shoulders can come unfrozen also sometimes, with work. I'm more inclined to go back (I did 2 months before discontinuing due to pain a few weeks ago) and do extensive PT to try and unfreeze it before I consider undergoing this procedure.

Really trying to avoid surgery, as I am self-employed guitarist and guitar teacher, and they say rehab is 3 to 6 months--without playing, and therefore without making any money, which I can't really swing right now. Not to mention, it would be depressing as hell to not do what I do best for that long.

I'm still doing the posture exercises--shoulder blade squeezes and neck tucks. Right now I have to sit while playing, as I can't really have weight of guitar and strap on my left shoulder. Otherwise, it doesn't affect my playing very much, only when I try to carry equipment, walk with a gig bag on, etc.

Hoping for some opinions from people who have had similar issues, especially anyone who has successfully avoided surgery. A friend has suggested a massage therapist who is supposed to be quite gifted, but I'm a bit gun shy about that.

Thanks for your help!

Paul
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:10 PM   #2
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

I have been through 5 shoulder surgeries, heading for the 6th, so have been around the block. Plus I am in my 50s, and have had 3 different surgeons. First, doing a bicep tenotomy or tenodesis is not going to "unfreeze" your shoulder. A cortisone shot will not kill your pain. Yes, it sounds like you have degenerative issues going on, as anyone does over 50.
I cannot believe a surgeon said he would not repair a tear on someone in their 50s! No, you don't rush into that, but there are circumstances where it is appropriate. Probably not in your case, but to say he would not to that, but would be more than happy to cut your bicep tendon is really unbelievable.
I would run, not walk to another shoulder surgeon OR just keep on with PT OR live with it with medications.

 
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Old 02-01-2013, 08:46 PM   #3
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Hi I'm 56 had SLAP tear and debridement from osteo in May 12 dr. Did start PT til 3 weeks later which surprised therapist. After about a month and a half they decided I was freezing up and did a MUA. Manipulation under an anesthesia which is dangerous for those with osteo. Can cause breakage. But didn't thank god.

Did more Pt but still hurt finally finishing after 8 weeks. I still have ALOT of pain. They want to replace it down the road due to osteo.

Whatever you do get another opinion and do your Pt at one week after and do them at home. Cathy

 
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Old 02-02-2013, 04:03 AM   #4
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

PT can be defined differently. Tendons do need time to heal to the bone and aggressive PT can cause re-tear. But there is a difference in "Pt the hell out of it" and gentle pendulums and assisted rom! They thought I developed frozen shoulder after the cuff tear, but it was scarring. Even now, that I cannot move my arm hardly at all (getting a reverse replacement in a month), it isn't stiff!
I do hope you get another opinion, guitarist. There is a 62 yr old runner/skier on another forum who had a simple slap repair and regrets it every day, wishing he never had surgery.

 
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Old 02-02-2013, 01:42 PM   #5
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Many thanks to all of you who took the time to respond. I slept on what this doctor said, and woke up the next morning and first thought was "I'm not doing that! (cutting bicep)." And your replies have only strengthened my resolve!

The trouble I've found is that most surgeons are trained to do surgery, and they aren't much help for those who don't want to do that route, other than lots of PT. And forget about pain--strong advil is the only thing they would offer, that and Tramadol, which makes me feel too weird. So it feels like if you want to try to do this non-surgically, you're on your own. But in my gut I know cutting the bicep is not a good solution. If anyone has recommendations for good shoulder docs in NY that are open to healing without surgery, I'd love to hear them.

 
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:10 AM   #6
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Just a quick update:

after deciding against surgery, I found a good massage therapist and movement person, and have been successful in unfreezing the shoulder through deep tissue work (sometimes painful, but it seems to be working) and stretching. I can now raise my bad arm almost as high as the other. It's not there yet, and is still painful, but it's going in the right direction. Thanks to all of you for your advice.

Paul

 
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:23 AM   #7
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Hi,
My husband had/has a similar problem. He is 58 years old also a musician (bass guitar) part-time with a full-time job in retail. He recently had surgery to repair the tears in the rotator cuff and remove a horrid bone spur. The surgeon RECOMMENDED the surgery over any other possible procedures. It was performed laproscopically about 3 weeks ago, he is now in PT which is for about 3 more months and he cannot remove his sling for another week, but all-in-all he is recovering VERY well and should recover complete use of his shoulder withing 6-8 months. Perhaps you should get a second opinion, as PT and steroid injections are just eating up your time and money with minimul results for you. Hope you fine relief soon.

 
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Old 02-19-2013, 07:58 AM   #8
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Paul,
Everyone is different, but, unfortunately with my experience, I so very strongly advise you to exhaust any and all possible treatment before proceeding to surgery. That being said, I will let you know that surprisingly, fully severing the biceps and anchoring it is a procedure that is common and can have absolutely no loss of function afterwards no matter how crazy that may sound. Many times the biceps will fully sever itself if it is torn enough to do so in time which ironically ELIMINATES all biceps pain and results in an odd deformity to the upper arm, but that isn't such a big deal. I had the biceps repair and the anchoring done three months ago.... By the way, my MRI "reads" exactly as yours.... lists over eight tears, labrum, cuff, etc. etc. etc..... Once they get in there, it is a whole different story on what they truly see. And, the cherry on the top was contracting a severe staph infection that required seven weeks of IV therapy. My pain has tripled since the biceps repair, and I wish I would have been smart enuogh to trust my gut and utilize more conservative options. Look at it this way, the truth is that even if your biceps repair is successful, you are looking at nearly a year for a final outcome. In addition, my shoulder is beyond frozen. I have done it to myself in a way by guarding it to avoid severe pain. You know what to do... you know the exercises... get that shoulder moving no matter how small. When you are watching tv, just roll it around.... I may be wrong, but if you are driven, you can do this..... I have four labral tears, and this is my second surgery in six months..... they feel no reason to touch the labrum. i HAVE faith in my surgeon, but all of this sucks!!! You can do it!! I wish you the very best, Jennifer

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:21 PM   #9
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Quote:
Originally Posted by theruids View Post
Paul,
That being said, I will let you know that surprisingly, fully severing the biceps and anchoring it is a procedure that is common and can have absolutely no loss of function afterwards no matter how crazy that may sound. Many times the biceps will fully sever itself if it is torn enough to do so in time which ironically ELIMINATES all biceps pain and results in an odd deformity to the upper arm, but that isn't such a big deal. I had the biceps repair and the anchoring done three months ago.... By the way, my MRI "reads" exactly as yours.... lists over eight tears, labrum, cuff, etc. etc. etc..... Once they get in there, it is a whole different story on what they truly see. And, the cherry on the top was contracting a severe staph infection that required seven weeks of IV therapy. My pain has tripled since the biceps repair, and I wish I would have been smart enuogh to trust my gut and utilize more conservative options.
Jennifer, sorry that your recovery is rough. Do you think much of it might be due to the staph infection? I am also consideriing the biceps repair and re-anchoring in a different place. I don't want my bicep tendon to rupture, as I really need it for some arm movements in tennis. I am wondering if anyone on here has had a successful result.

 
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Old 03-20-2013, 01:05 PM   #10
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

I'd had a frozen shoulder with rotator cuff small tears four years ago. I was in my early 40's. I wasn't able to comb my hair, nor to touch my behind. I couldn't sleep - impossible to find a position in bed. Really painful. I received a cortisone shot and was in PT for 7 months. I had to pause with PT every 3 weeks for 1 week. Swimming and assisted PT helped me the most. I have recovered more than 95% of my arm function.
Last year my other shoulder started showing the same symptoms, so I started the therapy much sooner and I have fully recovered within couple of months.
I wish you all the best!

 
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Old 04-01-2013, 04:58 PM   #11
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Re: frozen shoulder=surgery to cut bicep? shoulder surgery advice please

Hi there, I had frozen shoulder about 8 years ago (hideous, hideous pain). The thing that 'fixed' it was hydrodilatation - an injection into the packed shoulder capsule (think it's a mix of anaesthetic and saline solution) that pumps it up. The shoulder joint sloshed around a bit for 24 hours or so but then it progressively got better, pain free, mobile - yeay!!.

I was in my late 40's then. My SIL (similar age) also had frozen shoulder a couple of years later and pursued the route you're taking, with eventually good results. Best wishes, it's not fun, especially those sudden movements!

Last edited by Administrator; 04-01-2013 at 07:08 PM.

 
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