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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Rotator Cuff Surgery...

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6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Feb 25th, 2018 09:21 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Any surgeons in the FDP? If so, I have a question:

An MRI revealed my right shoulder pain is due to a partially torn right rotator cuff. Doing something like just hanging a shirt up in the closet causes major pain. Probably worst of all is waking up in pain at night because I rolled over on my side while sleeping.

It ain't cancer and I'm very thankful for that.

However... My doc says chances for total pain relief are about 100% if I have the surgery. The downside is 6 to 8 weeks in a sling and sleeping in an easy chair for that period. That would then be followed by 6 to 12 months of physical therapy.

I've been doing physical therapy for 6 months now to no avail. In fact, I think I'm worse off now than I was before doing the PT.

SO... I'm wondering if any of you FDP'ers have been through the procedure and if the above scenario is pretty much what is to be expected. At 72, I know time isn't on my side for healing so I need to make a decision soon.

Thanks!

6

WireDog
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Sunken Heights

North Carolina
Feb 25th, 2018 10:02 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had that surgery about three years ago and it was a success. I am completely pain free and have at least 90% of the use I had when the shoulder was good. It will never be good as new, and I no longer do exercises that bring my arm higher than the level of my shoulder. Lifting heavy boxes up onto high shelves is a no-go, for instance, and I get help.

The recover is a very, very tough one. It is weird, painful, and full of uncertainty. Some RC surgeries do not work. The recliner is a must (make sure you can control it with your one good arm); also get the ice machine to keep the swelling down. Plan on living in the sling, close in to your body, for quite a while.

The PT people that I had were good at dealing with this. Your RC tendon will be stitched to your Humerus and the site is as fragile as spun glass at first. Trying to work it ahead of schedule is certain disaster - you can only go at the pace that bone attaches to tendon. This takes months and requires a lot of patience. IMHO, this is where so many people blow it by using it too soon.

They will probably start you passively stretching, just a little at a time, (not using your muscles) very soon. In time, this transitions to using muscles. Also, getting your arm to rotate outward from your body is perhaps the most painful part and it must be done in stages over months. Do not, I say again, DO NOT, jump the gun!

It's tough but it worked like clockwork for me. Still, there were a could of times I feared I had torn everything loose. But I had not. There is a good support group I can turn you on to if need be - people share their stories and you can get some good first hand info.

It was well worth it in my case. Good luck.

(This message was last edited by WireDog at 12:06 PM, Feb 25th, 2018)

stratcat_4760
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Atchafalaya Basin

South Louisiana
Feb 25th, 2018 10:06 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Look on YT ...lots of videos, from the old time surgeries and massive scars, to modern surgery.

Video's show repair of a slight tear, to full tears....even the sewing pattern.

Also; videos that show recovery, from a 20y/o girl who acts like its just a scratch, to a 30y/o cry baby dude.


Very interesting stuff.
Good luck!

Taildragger
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USA

an acquired taste some may never acquire
Feb 25th, 2018 10:26 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

My RC problems were due to bone spurs rather than an actual tear, but my sleep problems were similar (rolling over and waking up in pain). Couldn't sleep worth a damn. I had the spurs ground out with arthroscopic surgery and have been pain-free since. Was able to return to full function whereas my right arm had become virtually useful prior.

One caution: they gave me Percocet for post-op pain relief and neglected to mention that it contains an opioid (oxycodone). I wound up not using any of it, but mention it only because a portion on the people suffering from the current "opioid crisis" got strung out initially on prescribed drugs given them legitimately by doctors.

This caveat may be unnecessary or redundant since doctors may have become much more conscientious about warning patients as to the contents of the pain relievers they prescribe (given the scope of current opioid problems): my surgery was 10 years ago.

Other than that, I'd say "do it"! I wish I'd done mine WAY sooner: would've saved myself a lot of unnecessary suffering.

Follow the post-op physical therapy regimen religiously to avoid any subsequent range-of-motion issues. The pain of therapy is nothing next to what you have probably been suffering.

professor
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North Gnarlyington

Feb 25th, 2018 10:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

A friend who has always been very athletic and active had it done recently and recovered quite well. He’s 65. Good part of it seems to be the cost of having been so active, but assuming you’re otherwise in good shape that should bode well for recovery and being able to properly follow the post op PT regimen.


6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Feb 25th, 2018 12:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for all the good info, guys!

"The recover is a very, very tough one..." This seems to be a recurring theme from everyone I've talked to personally that had the surgery.

6

jefe46
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State of Jefferson

Feb 25th, 2018 02:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

When I had my rotator cuff repair ( ripped to shreds) it also included grinding down the ball on my humerus to make it round following the inept care of a bone guy who mis diagnosed the problem a year prior. Hit by a car and ball busted off.. grew 4mm of scar tissue.. year late,. ball was an egg and I could not lift my arm. He also missed severely ripped up rotator cuff.

Serious surgery as a result.


Sling and casts for 5-6 months. Wussy rehab.. which I modified.. and found greater and longer lasting results , and far less costly .
BUT do not push if it hurts.. this is a long road.

I was not at full recovery for 2 years.

Now its still about 90%

The missionary position was out of the question for that period of time. FYI

I also learned to write left handed.

Best of luck.


WireDog
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Sunken Heights

North Carolina
Feb 25th, 2018 04:14 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

This is a cautionary tale.

Yes, Rotator Cuff injuries afflict very active people. A little knowledge about what causes many RC injuries cold possibly prevent them. I'm not talking about traumatic injuries - just the kind from repetitive motions over many years.

Here is a brief, not-technical, overview of what often happens to cause a RC injury.

It starts with the Scapula, which has rather pointy finger-like protrusions at the upper part. They are the Acromium and Coracoid Process. They curl forward deep into the intricate guts of your shoulder. The complex and ingenious array of tendons and muscles slide through and are connected up there.

Over the years, frequent friction under the Acromium causes calcium to build up under it, ever so slightly, year after year. As we get older, that calcium has become a spur. That very spur then begins to saw through the Rotator Cuff tendon, causing it to shred.

My Orthopedic surgeon said most active people already are tearing their RCs, but won't know it for years until it becomes really painful.

Isn't that special? The good news is that we can control our posture and the angle at which we normally position our scapula. It should be held low and back - which keeps those boney "fingers", the Acromium and Coratoid Process, from mashing down on the tendons et al in the shoulder. Hunching forward, even a little, digs those bones in and "squooshes" against the machinery in the shoulder.

Too bad that so many of us learn it the hard way.

Taildragger
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an acquired taste some may never acquire
Feb 25th, 2018 04:36 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Based on WD's explanation above, I guess hundreds of thousands of strokes paddling surfboards helped do my shoulder in. Once it was repaired and PT was behind me, I started right in doing it all over again. Hopefully, I'll be dead before it catches up with me again.

;-P

6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Feb 25th, 2018 05:42 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

The doc told me I have "OMD". I asked him what that was and he said, "Old Man Disease."

In other words, no single event caused it, just 72 years of an active life.

The toughest part for me will be giving up playing guitar and golf for an extended period of time. There ARE worse fates...

6

bongo122819
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usa

All I need is one more guitar
Feb 26th, 2018 03:17 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

I had rotator cuff surgery at age 65. I had torn the tendon while working on the house though the doc said it was likely partially torn years ago.
Surgery was painless and i took the required pain killers for the first week then nothing after.
Slept on a reclining chair for 1 1/2 weeks then to bed after that.
I could only sleep on my back for nearly 3 months but it did eventually heal.
I could play the guitar after 1 1/2 months but playing the bass took nearly 3 1/2 months due to the longer reach (left shoulder).
I did the rehab religiously and to this day still do the strap exercises several times a week.
good news is that after 5 years I have full range of motion though not the strength, and only occasional soreness - no real pain.
Good luck to you, and be sure to do the rehab !

6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Feb 26th, 2018 09:41 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for the info, Bongo!

6

WireDog
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Sunken Heights

North Carolina
Mar 30th, 2018 06:46 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

How's the shoulder doing, 6? Have they gone in?

Hope all is well ;-)

6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Mar 30th, 2018 07:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks for asking, Wiredog!

None of the treatments worked and so I’m scheduled for surgery on April 9. Doc seems confident I’ll be good as new again but warns the recovery period of 6 to 12 months won’t be much fun.

Still, it could be something much worse. I’m just thankful we have a procedure that can get rid of the pain.

6

WireDog
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Sunken Heights

North Carolina
Mar 30th, 2018 09:33 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Best of luck with it. You know what you're getting into.

Savor the small victories along the way. Every centimeter more extension and degree of external rotation is a major achievement. The rather long slog is well worth it!

MJB
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Who's we sucka?

Smith, Wesson and me.
Mar 31st, 2018 06:33 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Best wishes on your surgery!

Peegoo
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UNpopular music

superstar
Mar 31st, 2018 08:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Stay positive, 6L6. Attitude has a whole lot to do with recovery from a surgery like this. Mojo!

6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Mar 31st, 2018 09:39 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Thanks guys!

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6L6
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San Francisco, CA

Apr 9th, 2018 11:29 PM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Surgery successful. Back home with sling and ice packs.

PT starts in two days. Darn glad I did it!

6

De ville
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Apr 10th, 2018 01:00 AM   Edit   Profile   Print Topic   Search Topic

Right on, 6L6. Shoulder mojo!

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FDP Forum / Moe's Tavern (_8^(I) / Rotator Cuff Surgery...




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