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Thread: Upcoming shoulder surgery
04-27-2005, 09:13 AM #1
Upcoming shoulder surgery
I go in for arthroscopic shoulder surgery a week from today. Getting a rotator cuff and labrum repair. I'm really looking forward to the rehab
Anyone else been through this before? Any advice?Because rich has nothing to do with money.
04-27-2005, 09:17 AM #2
Use the Iceman!!!!
04-27-2005, 10:13 AM #3
I had arthroscopic shoulder surgery about a year ago to repair torn ligaments from an anterior dislocation. If I were to undergo the same surgery today, this is what I would do different:
1) Keep up on the drugs in the immediate aftermath of the surgery. This time period was painful. I was prescribed oxycotin (very strong drug) and percocet. I thought I would step down my dosage ahead of the prescribed timetable, but in retrospect I realize that I shouldn't have been in as much pain as I was. I should have allowed myself to continue on the drugs a bit longer to avoid the considerable pain.
2) Be more committed to PT. During PT, and especially after it was over, I should have stretched and continued my elastic band exercises at home with greater regularity. I make sure to exercise my shoulder at regular intervals at the gym, but I think I would be in better shape today, flexibility-wise, if I had stretched on a continuous basis outside of formal PT sessions.
04-29-2005, 12:28 AM #4
I go in for the same procedure May 18th.
Any more tales of recovery from such surgery?
Steven S. Dallas? Care to recollect in prose?
04-29-2005, 09:59 AM #5
In September 2003 I was bouldering in Central Park and while mantling I dislocated my shoulder. A visit to the doc told me I had torn my labrum and had some other less serious and "entirely normal for this sort of injury" issues. I forget the specifics, but what it came down to was that I had torn my labrum and was in for some knife time (arthroscopic). The doc also told me that my joints "are loose" and that I probably have a partial laberal tear in my left shoulder as well (climbing injury from mantling in 2002).
Actually, this was a second opinion. The first doc told me the same thing, but I didn't like his attitude so I went to another guy. If he wants the $15,000 from my insurance company he has to smile more.
(btw - I was 23 at the time. That probably affected the doctors' decisions as to whether to cut me or just see if PT alone could stabilize the shoulder.)
I got cut sometime in late September/early October. I went to work the day after surgery which impressed the hell out of my co-workers and only took maybe 2 or 3 percoset a day to deal with the pain. I dropped to one a day very quickly and stopped taking drugs 5 days after my surgery. I do not know if my experience is normal.
I spent a month in a sling sitting on my ass. Sleeping sitting up with lots of pillows was very necessary. In November the sling came off and my shoulder was a withered, shriveled thing. I'm already a skinny guy, but this was insane. I started PT at about 3 visits a week. I kept the sling on for a week or two after starting PT, but lost it pretty quickly.
PT sucks. My shoulder came out of the sling with a very small (compared to normal) range of motion. It felt weak, fragile and delicate. I was scared to do things with it. The stretches they made me do (like: lift your arm up until it's parallel with the ground) made me worry that I was going to do something horrible to my shoulder. Slowly, that improved. Slowly....
Did I mention PT hurts? Oh yeah... it did. Because of my "loose joints" the doc had "tightened up" my shoulder. Stretching those ligaments and tendons out to reach a normal ROM is a slow process... they don't like to stretch and they let you know that.
The first active thing I did following surgery was a hike in the Adirondacks on 12/31/03. Everyone else went skiing, but I was under specific instruction not to engage in any sports where I could fall down. The doc was worried that an attempt to break my fall with my bad shoulder would rip out all that expensive work. So hiking it was. I used trekking poles and found that I had no problems.
In March 04 I went skiing for the one time that winter. The PT and the doc had both given their "ok", but they told me to avoid serious crashes if possible. "Don't break your fall with your arm!" they said. I wore a simple neoprene shoulder brace/support for the hell of it. Not too sure what it did other than make it harder for me to breathe and leave my shoulder all sweaty. I also skied more conservatively than usual, much more.
Over time I went from 3 PT visits a week to 2 and then to 1. By late April 2004 I was finally done with PT and I had a batch of exercises to do at home. This was when I started rock climbing again.
Pre-injury I was climbing about 5.11 sport and 5.9+ trad. The last weekend of April 2004 I went climbing and spent my time on 5.5s and 5.4s at the Gunks. Luckily the Gunks has lots of those. By about August I had worked my way back up to 5.8 trad and my shoulder was feeling almost normal again. At around this time I started lifting weights again and going to the climbing gym.
By January 05 I was ice climbing again and my shoulder felt normal. When skiing my brother remarked more than once how much faster I skied in 05 versus 04. A few weekends ago I hit the rock for the first time this season and lead 5.8 and 5.9 trad routes without any real issues. So I guess I'm back to normal.
My repaired shoulder feels tighter than the 'normal' one. This is probably because of the 'tightening' that the doc said he did, and because of the possible un-diagnosed laberal tear in my other shoulder. During the recovery period the repaired shoulder felt weaker than the normal one, but after a couple months of a regular gym routine that is no longer the case. I can sleep on either side comfortably now, which I couldn't do for about 1 year following the surgery. I have a pair of 5lb. weights in my office that my co-workers make fun of ("Hey Franz, GET PUMPED!!!!" they say), but having them there gives me a productive procrastination routine. It's better than writing long injury reports online I guess.
Hope this helps, best of luck
Last edited by Will; 03-08-2008 at 01:42 PM.My dog did not bite your dog, your dog bit first, and I don't have a dog.
04-30-2005, 10:05 PM #6
Will- thanks much for the write up. Not looking forward to the experience but its nice to have a solid first-hand account to base my expectations on.
May 18th- here we go!!!!
04-30-2005, 10:26 PM #7
Damn, I didn't know you were getting that done. From that fall at Jay? Man. Shoulders are delicate things.
I can't speak to the point directly, because I didn't get 'scoped- totally open and invasive, 15 or so big staples to close me up and that was it. They did it that way, basically, because the thing was so shredded they couldn't get a good idea of what was wrong with it with the MRIs. I think that Will and GFP were both pretty dead-on except for stuff that varies from person to person, like needing more or less pain medication. No way could I have gone back to work the day after getting cut, I was a zombie for about 3 days because I was so whacked on painkillers. Some general advice, though.
-Don't cheat yourself on the PT. There's a tendency to half-ass it with shoulder injuries because there's a feeling of "good enough." But just fuckin' do it. Bitch.
-You won't be able to open jars, and possibly pill bottles, for a day or so. Put all your drugs in a bowl on the coffee table, and then invite me over. Are you doing in in Boston or Washington? Because I'll bring your folks something nice if necessary.
- Three words: slip-on shoes.
-Will is right- the road to wellness is long and something of a pain in the ass. 2 years or so isn't crazy at all before you feel totally right. But if you do the PT, it'll be that much better in the long run. I'm glad I did mine, you'll be glad too.In the long run, we're all dead.- John Maynard Keynes
04-30-2005, 10:37 PM #8Originally Posted by Steven S. Dallas
Originally Posted by Steven S. Dallas
Originally Posted by Steven S. Dallas
04-30-2005, 10:40 PM #9
What's the expected time off from work for a shoulder surgery like this?
Spanky, what did your doc tell you? Mine told me 2-3 weeks for my knee. He told me I may feel like I'm ready to go back after a week, but in the long run I should rest it for another 1-2 more. I've never had that much time off from work/school in my life, this should be interesting. Get the ski porn ready!!! You have Verbatim? Typing is gonna be a bitch! Thank god for wireless though.
04-30-2005, 10:51 PM #10Originally Posted by bigginsIn the long run, we're all dead.- John Maynard Keynes
05-01-2005, 07:04 AM #11
Thanks all for the info. I was told a couple of days off from work. I had the choice of having the procedure done on a Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. I was told, if Monday, that I'd possibly be able to go back to work on Friday. If Wednesday, that it would be Monday. If Friday it would be Tuesday or Wednesday. So, it looks like a good 4 days before returning to work. Of course, I have a desk job. Somebody that needs to do phyiscal movement would obviously be out longer.
I also have the added complexity of starting a new job and having to decide when to give my two weeks notice at my current employer. The offer is in hand (not yet accepted) and I just have to figure out how to work the transition and the surgery. I don't know if I should give notice before or after the surgery.Because rich has nothing to do with money.
05-02-2005, 11:21 AM #12
copied from ski/sb:
hi folks! mine was a labrum/biceps tendon/super spineal(?) reattachfest and ac joint cleaning combo platter with a side of bone frag removal. im on day 3 now and it aint that bad. it was real bad on day 2 when the block wore off but its getting better. my minimal pt has been super painful but im pluggin away. i just showered by myself which was a serious coup so im really stoked. im higher than keith richards which definitely helps. ill keep you guys posted with progress reports. take care."All God does is watch us and kill us when we get boring. We must never, ever be boring."
05-02-2005, 07:28 PM #13
Good luck with the surgery Spanky! Give us an update post op.
05-04-2005, 04:10 AM #14
It's now just under 2 hours before I have to be at the hospital. This is goin to be fun
Thanks all for the kind words and advice.Because rich has nothing to do with money.
05-05-2005, 04:55 AM #15
surgery went well. rough nite last nite. only puked once. percocet is good. let the recovery begin.Because rich has nothing to do with money.
05-11-2005, 04:30 PM #16
1 week post-op update...
1st, lemme preface this with... 1-handed typing sucks
surgery was deemed a success. but had some difficullties afterward...
percocet makes me puke - so i only ate crackers for the first few days.
the "cold-therapy" unit leaked in my bandage - it got wet and i had to remove the dressing early.
had some concerns around the swelling in my arm this past saturday. went to hosp and got some anti-biotics just in case. also had them put a new dressing on.
then came the swelling in my feet and ankles - this was attributed to the drugs i was on, the high salt intake (crackers above) and the fact that i stayed in a seated position 24-7 since the surgery (i couldn't lay down - too painful).
some advice for any others going in for shoulder work... a recliner is good. i rented one from rent-a-center for $20/week. it's much more comfortable than the couch or trying to lay in bed. stay on the drugs - don't quit early -they help you sleep. watch the salt intake. ask for a nerve block and light anesthesia - i was pseudo-awake during the op and the nerve block was good for many hours after the surgery.
went to the doc today. stitches came out and got a new hi-tech sling. doc showed me pics from the surgery - said he doesn't normally see this much damage (rotator cuff completely torn and a large labrum tear) - said it was impressive
i start pt tomorrow. that should be fun!Because rich has nothing to do with money.
05-11-2005, 11:03 PM #17Originally Posted by spanky
Thanks for the gimp tr and the recliner advice. Key!
05-12-2005, 06:45 AM #18Originally Posted by bigginsBecause rich has nothing to do with money.
05-12-2005, 09:11 AM #19
glad to hear your on the mend spanky. ya got to get that shoulder in shape for more video work for the next summitwhat's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?
05-29-2005, 03:02 PM #20
3.5 weeks post-op update...
Physical therapy: I'm doing only passive movements (2x a day at home). Like, putting my arm on the table and bending over to stretch. Wrist curls and putty to increase grip strength. When I go to the therapist (3x a week), they also put me through all different kinds of passive motion where I lay on the table and they move my arm. They always start me out with moist heat on the shoulder, then do the passive motions and wrist work, then electrical stim and ice to finish it up.
I'm still in the sling and was told I'll probably be in it for 5-6 weeks since it was a complete rotator cuff tear and partial labrum tear.
Sleeping is still a challenge. I'm really wanting to get back into bed, but can only last about 2 hours lying flat before the throbbing starts again. Although the recliner is more comfortable than sitting on the couch, it's not as comfortable as my bed.
I also started a new job this week. So the added stresses of a longer commute (mass transit) and trying to make a good first impression (i.e. pushing myself) has left me quite sore at the end of the day.Because rich has nothing to do with money.
06-19-2005, 08:04 AM #21
It's been a while since I posted an update. I've made some pretty good progress this past week (6 weeks post-op). On Monday, I got permission from my therapist to take off the sling indoors only. This wasn't much of a big deal because I had already had it off at home over the weekend. Then, at my Thursday appointment, they started me doing more active movements - Things like the arm-bike, lateral arm raises (no weight) and rotator cuff exercises with Therabands and 1 lb weights. At the end of my Thursday therapy session, I got the OK to go without the sling all the time. Boy, was that good news. At 6 weeks + 1 day post op, I was at the very end of what I was told to expect for time in the sling (Doc had said 4-6 weeks).
Now that I'm out of the sling, I'm making progress every day. I'm making gains in range of motion and reduction in pain with movement. The hardest thing now is still trying to get a good night sleep - but I'm making small progress with that too. I can't wait to get into more of the muscle building exercises to come.Because rich has nothing to do with money.
06-19-2005, 06:14 PM #22
Good to hear Spanky. I'm 3+ weeks post-op. Still just pendulums and elbow bends, but I'm hopeful that come Friday (4 weeks post-op) I can lose the sling. I'm doing fine with the sleeping (I slept sitting up for 8 months after the car accident), and most other things, its just the sweaty/itchiness of a sling in the summer heat/humidity that's killing me.
Anyways- good to hear things are going well- I'll update in a few weeks when I get transfered from my surgeons office to the PT guy across the hall.
07-13-2005, 07:58 PM #23
10 weeks post-op update...
I saw the doc yesterday and he said something along the lines of, "I remember this one, you did a number on yourself." He proceeded to test my strength and range of motion and said I'm ahead of schedule. That was very encouraging because I feel like I'm progressing very slowly.
As for PT, I started therapy 8 days after surgery. For the first 6 weeks, I was going 3 days a week but it was mostly passive motion. I'm now down to 2 days per week of therapy and have started more active motion and strengthening exercises. My typical therapy session involves:
Hand bike for 8 minutes - 4 minutes forward, 4 minutes backward
Passive table stretches - arm straight in front of me, arm bent at 90 deg. angle)
Arm pulley - pulley system overhead, rope with two handles. I sit underneath it, hold handles in both arms and alternate pulling my arm straight overhead. This was torture at first
Cane Stretch - Lay on my back, hold a "cane" in both hands and raise my arms overhead to stretch.
Theraband exercises - Internal & external shoulder rotations. Rows.
Lying External Rotation - Lay on my left side, do right shoulder external rotation exercise with 2 lb weights.
Lateral Raises - Lift arms till they're parallel to the ground. I'm up to 2 lb weights!
Lateral Raises with no weights lifting my arms all the way overhead
Touchdowns - Just as it sounds, move my arms up in a touchdown motion
Prone T's - Lay face down on a table, let arm hang down, raise arm up and out to the side.
Passive stretching and ROM measurements with therapist
Electrical Stimulation and Ice
I've also been given "Homework" as well. I need to do my stretching and non-weight exercises 2 times per day.
Sleep is getting better as well. Still not making through the entire night, but now it's just down to minor aches that wake me up.Because rich has nothing to do with money.
07-13-2005, 09:07 PM #24
I have surgery to repair my a-c separation Monday. Can I join the club?
07-17-2005, 07:50 PM #25Originally Posted by Shepherd WongBecause rich has nothing to do with money.