I am searching for information about rotator cuff repair. I injured my right shoulder 3 years ago. The pain was manageable at that time. I elected to postpone surgery until my busy schedule allowed. Well it's been three years and although the pain level has stayed about the same I am now weighing my options for a delayed surgery.
Has anyone experienced a similar situation? What can I expect by having waited too long for surgical repair? Can I expect good recovery? Should I just continue to endure the occasional nightly pain?
I had to wait 7 months due to a humerus break that had to heal before they did the cuff repair. I had always been told that it is best to have the surgery as soon as possible after the incident--that the results are usually better then. However, my surgeon told me that it doesn't matter. Most likely the results depend on how the tears look--did the tendon retract, etc.?
In my little old opinion, the surgeon will say it doesn't matter how long you wait if there is a reason, goor or not so good, for waiting. There are several current studies that say earlier repair, within 3-6 weeks, is best for repair of a traumatic tear. Of course the nay sayers will say that the tendon was probably torn before, but there is no way to prove that.
All that said, if you did not have enough pain, discomfort or lack of function to really need surgery at the time, it probably does not matter. Not every tear needs repair. Some people do fine with tears never being fixed. My husband is a case in point. He does complain now and then, but after seeing what I've been through, he will pass on surgery, thank you very much!
What does matter is the quality of the tendon and muscle. If it is retracted too far, and the muscle has significant fatty infiltration, it might not be repairable. Or the repair may fail. Age is a factor, as is general health, smoking, etc.
Have you tried focused PT? Is the pain constant and ruining your life? Are you committed to a long recovery and months of PT? Do you have a current MRI?
Yes I do have a MRI but it is also 3 years old. I really do not want to spend 3-6 months of PT. I am in my 3rd shot of cortisone and they last about 4 months. I am 59 years old and have an average active life style. The pain is noticeable mostly at night after a lot of physical use of my right arm during the day. I probably should get another MRI as well as a second opinion from another orthopedic.
Did you recently see a surgeon who advised surgery? i guess so if you are getting cortisone shots. Many people are very happy with the results, but you do have to be committed to therapy, and it is arduous, as in boring and necessary. Some advil PM or ambien might be just as helpful. Knowing the extent of the tear will probably be helpful too. If you never did do therapy, that alone might be helpful. That MRI might show other issues as well. But it all comes down to whether you are comfortable with how things are now. Good luck with your decision.
Get a new MRI. I am going through something similar. Injured 2 years ago, rotator cuff tears were minor, but labrum never healed. I do construction so I am very active with my arms and shoulders on a daily basis.
Easing into work was hard at first but once I got my range of motion back it wasnt too bad. But within the last year the pain has been excruciating at times, and I dont feel like a trip to get cortisone every x amount of months is the right choice for me.
I went before Halloween to a shoulder specialist. My 4th in the last 2 years, got a new MRI and explained the whole story, and based on my lifestyle and discomfort he threw the idea of going in and fixing it and putting me on a PT plan for pitchers and throwers post op. My rotator cuff has healed but labrum not so much and other things are going on.
So as of now surgery is the route I plan to take. I dont believe any form of PT at this point will heal my shoulder unless they go in and clean it and anchor it. I have done a lot of research of cartilage and ligaments, and in my scenario, I feel surgery suits me.