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View Full Version : Shoulder surgery next week... nervous!!!


BMC9670
12-02-2009, 07:39 AM
Well, the day Iíve hoped would never come is coming next week: shoulder surgery. :( I actually found this forum more than a year ago doing research on my injury and have been educated by some great threads where the likes of spittle, bronco_mba, drak, and danlalane have chronicled their experiences.

The shoulder started to bother me at the end of summer 2008 after a lot of tennis. Went to the Ortho and had X-rays and an MRI, which showed a small tear in he supraspinatus tendon. I did PT for 6 months and it went from about 50% to 75%. Then I did home therapy for another 6 months and got it to near 90% while playing tennis all summer. This fall it started to decline again so I got another X-ray and MRI, this time with contrast, and it showed the tear at near 50% thickness, a small bone spur (probably the culprit) and a possible SLAP tear (wonít know for sure until surgery). SoÖ Iím going under the knife, well...the scope.

Iím getting nervous so I'm trying to get my ducks in a row and have less to worry about:

1. Kids taken care for the day / wife to drive me
2. Plans for meds and PT set up
3. Rented a recliner to sleep sitting up (electric-lift for $20/week!)
4. Electric toothbrush and shaver for easier left hand use
5. Took a week off work
6. Bought a couple of zippered sweatshirts/sweatpants for easier dressing
7. Got a couple of good books and movies
8. All the fall yard work done (and hung the Christmas lights!)

Did I miss anything?

The doc says 6 months to full recovery, which is the beginning of June so I hope to enjoy a full summer of tennis. All experiences Iíve read say to do, but donít overdo the PT, so I plan to diligently follow the instructions Iím given. The last thing I want is to prolong the recovery.

Sorry for the long post - just going a little crazy waiting for the impending day. Any advice from those who have been through it?

atatu
12-02-2009, 08:18 AM
Good Luck...I haven't been through this, but I have a nagging soreness in my serving shoulder so it may be time for me to get it checked out.

basil J
12-02-2009, 08:25 AM
removal of a bone spur is no big deal. You'd be out of a sling within a week. I had 2 removed in april and I was lifting my arm over my shoulder 3 days after surgery. Slap tear is a different story. You will be in a sling for a few weeks and rehab will take months before you start to feel normal. good luck. remember to ice and take pain meds to stay ahead of the pain. the first 72 hours are the worst, after that it's not too bad.
Good luck

EKnee08
12-02-2009, 10:51 AM
Well, the day Iíve hoped would never come is coming next week: shoulder surgery. :( I actually found this forum more than a year ago doing research on my injury and have been educated by some great threads where the likes of spittle, bronco_mba, drak, and danlalane have chronicled their experiences.

The shoulder started to bother me at the end of summer 2008 after a lot of tennis. Went to the Ortho and had X-rays and an MRI, which showed a small tear in he supraspinatus tendon. I did PT for 6 months and it went from about 50% to 75%. Then I did home therapy for another 6 months and got it to near 90% while playing tennis all summer. This fall it started to decline again so I got another X-ray and MRI, this time with contrast, and it showed the tear at near 50% thickness, a small bone spur (probably the culprit) and a possible SLAP tear (wonít know for sure until surgery). SoÖ Iím going under the knife, well...the scope.

Iím getting nervous so I'm trying to get my ducks in a row and have less to worry about:

1. Kids taken care for the day / wife to drive me
2. Plans for meds and PT set up
3. Rented a recliner to sleep sitting up (electric-lift for $20/week!)
4. Electric toothbrush and shaver for easier left hand use
5. Took a week off work
6. Bought a couple of zippered sweatshirts/sweatpants for easier dressing
7. Got a couple of good books and movies
8. All the fall yard work done (and hung the Christmas lights!)

Did I miss anything?

The doc says 6 months to full recovery, which is the beginning of June so I hope to enjoy a full summer of tennis. All experiences Iíve read say to do, but donít overdo the PT, so I plan to diligently follow the instructions Iím given. The last thing I want is to prolong the recovery.

Sorry for the long post - just going a little crazy waiting for the impending day. Any advice from those who have been through it?

I went thru shoulder surgery 8 years ago with a torn rotator cuff . The biggest problem was sleeping through the night with the portable cast/ sling for over a month so the recliner is a great idea! After that you will have to sleep on your side, etc.Just be prepared to have some difficulty doing things with your left hand/ arm/ shoulder if you are a righty. I am a lefty and had no real problem adapting because I did many things with my right hand before and did not realize it until the surgery.
You seem to have everything covered but you should find out what will be done to keep the swelling down after the surgery. Is there a cryocuff system? My ortho had me order the system before the surgery and had it applied to my shoulder in the recovery room while I was still sleeping.

Not only did I use it in the short time after recovery but it was very helpful to use after a workout during the rehab process and after I started playing tennis again.
If a cryocuff is not being provided, consider ordering it from the following website and have it shipped overnight. I purchased it from brace shop.com
Here is a review:
http://sportsmedinfo.net/reviews/index.php/icing-systems/35-icing-system-reviews/74-cryocuff-icing-system-shoulder
Braceshop website:
http://www.braceshop.com/productcart/pc/AirCast-AutoChill-Cold-Therapy-System-324p412.htm
or
http://www.braceshop.com/productcart/pc/AirCast-Cryo-Cuff-Cold-Therapy-Unit-324p413.htm

patient shoulder guide http://www.braceshop.com/productcart/pc/pdf/shouldercryo.pdf

another website: http://www.buyaircast.com/cryo-cuff-shoulder.htm

In addition, you may want to buy a GOOD BACKPACK because while your arm is in a sling you will only have use of the one hand/side and will not be able to carry things with your good hand. (e.g.) work related, etc.

You may also want to go to a medical/surgical supplies store and/or a home care store and see what products will help you while you can not use the one side of your body. For example, if you are not allowed to get the one side wet/ take a shower or bath, consider instant shampoo, towelettes and other personal hygiene products

Finally, you will adapt! I drove my car with one hand to and from work.

BMC9670
12-02-2009, 11:03 AM
Thanks for the advice EKnee08. I'll check out the cryocuff system, definitely and my tennis backpack works well over the left shoulder - great idea.

When you had your surgery, did you get an arm block or a general? I'm having a block with IV sedation, but I'm a little nervous about the block placement, for which I'll be awake.

EKnee08
12-02-2009, 11:57 AM
Thanks for the advice EKnee08. I'll check out the cryocuff system, definitely and my tennis backpack works well over the left shoulder - great idea.

When you had your surgery, did you get an arm block or a general? I'm having a block with IV sedation, but I'm a little nervous about the block placement, for which I'll be awake.

I don't recall (it was over 8 years ago) other than I was completely knocked out. There may have been some kind of IV sedation.

I'm sure it will be fine and I wish you a speedy recovery!!!

My shoulder has not bothered me in years and the key is to keep it strong and stretch post recovery.

mark999
12-02-2009, 06:37 PM
would recommend 2 supplements. vitamin c in powder form. i use calcium ascorbate. start taking a couple of days before surgery, 2 grams per day. after surgery take 5-10 grams daily divided into 4 equal doses. continue for 2 weeks than taper off to 1 gram per day. msm powder to reduce inflamation and pain. start taking right after surgery, 5-10 grams per day divided into 4 equal doses. both vit. c and msm dissolve in water or juice if you don't like the taste. msm-msm.com is a very cheap source for both products.

BMC9670
12-03-2009, 05:07 AM
Thanks, mark999. I don't have any experience with supplements. Vitamin C seems easy enough, but what is MSM? Looks like it's used for arthritis from what I've seen online.

Also, I've seen arginine and orthinine mentioned on this forum. Any experience with these? I know there are no magic bullets, but if there are things that help with recovery...why not?

drak
12-03-2009, 07:05 AM
"The shoulder started to bother me at the end of summer 2008 after a lot of tennis. Went to the Ortho and had X-rays and an MRI, which showed a small tear in he supraspinatus tendon. I did PT for 6 months and it went from about 50% to 75%. Then I did home therapy for another 6 months and got it to near 90% while playing tennis all summer. This fall it started to decline again so I got another X-ray and MRI, this time with contrast, and it showed the tear at near 50% thickness, a small bone spur (probably the culprit) and a possible SLAP tear (wonít know for sure until surgery). SoÖ Iím going under the knife, well...the scope."

You had the same issues I did except you are better off because the tear is only 50%, mine was a full rotator cuff tear and needed screws to reattach. The Slap tear is IMO not that big a deal, with a 50% tear your recovery should be significantly faster than mine. It looks to me you are doing all the right things. One thing I would STRONGLY ADVISE you to do is to get the specific shoulder ice vest type machine for the first two weeks. It ices awesomely and easily and also can apply various degrees of pressure at the same time. It allowed me to not take ANY meds except Tylenol a few times, it keeps the swelling and pain way down - it's a must IMO. My insurance did not cover it and it cost me a $200 or so, I would gladly have paid more it's that good.

One more thing, start your PT soon after and do the pendulums as directed.

Best of luck to you

Drak

EKnee08
12-03-2009, 07:47 AM
"The shoulder started to bother me at the end of summer 2008 after a lot of tennis. Went to the Ortho and had X-rays and an MRI, which showed a small tear in he supraspinatus tendon. I did PT for 6 months and it went from about 50% to 75%. Then I did home therapy for another 6 months and got it to near 90% while playing tennis all summer. This fall it started to decline again so I got another X-ray and MRI, this time with contrast, and it showed the tear at near 50% thickness, a small bone spur (probably the culprit) and a possible SLAP tear (wonít know for sure until surgery). SoÖ Iím going under the knife, well...the scope."

You had the same issues I did except you are better off because the tear is only 50%, mine was a full rotator cuff tear and needed screws to reattach. The Slap tear is IMO not that big a deal, with a 50% tear your recovery should be significantly faster than mine. It looks to me you are doing all the right things. One thing I would STRONGLY ADVISE you to do is to get the specific shoulder ice vest type machine for the first two weeks. It ices awesomely and easily and also can apply various degrees of pressure at the same time. It allowed me to not take ANY meds except Tylenol a few times, it keeps the swelling and pain way down - it's a must IMO. My insurance did not cover it and it cost me a $200 or so, I would gladly have paid more it's that good.

One more thing, start your PT soon after and do the pendulums as directed.

Best of luck to you

Drak
Drak- You are right on the mark regarding both the PT and the icer!
I was fortunate in that when I had my surgery 8 years ago, insurance paid for the cryocuff autochill. However, when I had micrfracturesurgery on my knee 2 summers ago, my insurance no longer paid for it. I paid for the knee sleeve out of pocket and it is well worth it. The advantage with the cryocuff is that you can use it even when post-op is finished and if you have an injury to another body part down the line such as knee or ankle, you can use the existing system. You would only have to buy the slleve for the knee, ankle, etc. Because I saved the main system from the rotator cuff repair, I only had to buy the knee sleeve.

BMC9670
12-03-2009, 07:50 AM
Thanks, drak. I've read the post of your experience and learned a lot about what I'm about to go through. It also gave me hope of a fast/smooth recovery as my pain is relatively low and my ROM is pretty good going in.

Did you use the cryocuff or another brand?

BMC9670
12-03-2009, 07:52 AM
Also, does it replace it the sling they give me altogether or do you just use it when icing?

bee
12-03-2009, 09:33 AM
I had a rotator cuff repair on my dominant right shoulder about 5 years ago. Supraspinateus tear. I was playing at fullstrength after about 8 months, back on court initially after 3-4 months.

Didn't go to PT much because I was paying for it myself and it was way overpriced. Went twice, then did the exercises at home (mostly things like walking the arm up on the wall and such).

Here is what impressed me the most about post-op recovery: After about 6-8 weeks, I was able to get in the pool and begin breast stroke swimming. Not the overhead American crawl, of course. Once I started this strictly breast stoke swimming routine, my recovery was greatly acccelerated. It's seemed to be ideal for a gentle and fluid motioned recovery exercise. Really, it was quite dramatic.

Good luck with it. You'll get throught it.

drak
12-03-2009, 09:44 AM
Also, does it replace it the sling they give me altogether or do you just use it when icing?

The ice unit/vest replaces the sling when icing and you do that 15-20 minutes every hour. I can't remember the brand name of the ice unit, sorry. It was like a half vest with a mini cooler with tubes attached to control ice water flow and pressure - very easy to operate.

mark999
12-03-2009, 10:25 AM
Thanks, mark999. I don't have any experience with supplements. Vitamin C seems easy enough, but what is MSM? Looks like it's used for arthritis from what I've seen online.

Also, I've seen arginine and orthinine mentioned on this forum. Any experience with these? I know there are no magic bullets, but if there are things that help with recovery...why not?

i use msm daily for it's inflammation fighting properties. i've given it to 2 friends that had broken bones and the doctors could not believe how fast they mended. i also take 2 amino acid supplements daily. l-arginine l-pyroglutamate and l-citruline dl-malate for high blood pressure. i've noticed a big jump in my cardiovascular fitness and have lost about 5 lbs. of very stubborn body fat around my middle. purebulk.com is the cheapest i've found for ordering the amino acids. the arginine if taken before bedtime will stimulate production of growth hormone naturally which will enhance healing. hope this helps. the msm-msm.com website has good discussion forums. the amino acids i take dissolve in water and don't taste bad, you can get cheaper types but the taste is pretty nasty.

BMC9670
12-07-2009, 06:20 AM
Thanks for the replies and advice. Tomorrow's the day and I feel as prepared as I'm going to be.

With no tennis for a few months, I'll probably be posting a lot more to play vicariously through all of you! :)

Well - here goes nothin'!

drak
12-07-2009, 10:12 AM
Thanks for the replies and advice. Tomorrow's the day and I feel as prepared as I'm going to be.

With no tennis for a few months, I'll probably be posting a lot more to play vicariously through all of you! :)

Well - here goes nothin'!

Best of luck and get back to the courts soon!

Drak

charliefedererer
12-08-2009, 07:54 AM
Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

EKnee08
12-08-2009, 10:40 AM
Thanks for the replies and advice. Tomorrow's the day and I feel as prepared as I'm going to be.

With no tennis for a few months, I'll probably be posting a lot more to play vicariously through all of you! :)

Well - here goes nothin'!

Good luck and keep us informed of your progress!

Robbnc
12-08-2009, 05:54 PM
The smartest thing you can do is get the cryocuff or similar system.
I bought a system off e bay that continually circulates cold water just like the
ones the therapists uses for $65.

6 months might be a good idea for tennis but you should be able to do strength
training before that. I was lifting light the 5th month and heavy by the 6th
month. But you should quizz your doc about that, hes probably just being
conservative until he sees how it goes.

good luck

drak
12-10-2009, 07:03 AM
Thanks for the replies and advice. Tomorrow's the day and I feel as prepared as I'm going to be.

With no tennis for a few months, I'll probably be posting a lot more to play vicariously through all of you! :)

Well - here goes nothin'!

Let us know how you are doing.

Drak

AAAA
12-10-2009, 07:45 AM
Good luck and take it easy after the operation. Think long term, a lifetime of tennis, you're not a pro so don't rush the 'come-back' and re-injure the area at fault.

BMC9670
12-13-2009, 01:46 PM
Back with an update. 5 days post-op and I'm doing OK. The repair was more involved than I thought - RC cleaned up, 2 anchor SLAP repair and sub acromial decompression. First three days were tough - the meds made me sick so i stopped them - now only tylenol.

Sling for 4-6 weeks and then PT. No movement yet. I feel really constricted. Shower is the only time I'm allowed out of the sling. Sleep is OK - recliner was a must!

Exercise feels a million years away much less tennis! Thanks all for the support.

drak
12-14-2009, 04:06 AM
Back with an update. 5 days post-op and I'm doing OK. The repair was more involved than I thought - RC cleaned up, 2 anchor SLAP repair and sub acromial decompression. First three days were tough - the meds made me sick so i stopped them - now only tylenol.

Sling for 4-6 weeks and then PT. No movement yet. I feel really constricted. Shower is the only time I'm allowed out of the sling. Sleep is OK - recliner was a must!

Exercise feels a million years away much less tennis! Thanks all for the support.

Hang in there buddy the first week or two are the worst! I had two RC RC screws put in. I felt the same about the meds, hope you are religiously using the ice vest or similar. Best of luck

Drak

BMC9670
12-14-2009, 10:58 AM
Thanks, Drak. Icing regularly and pain/swelling well under control.

My biggest worry now is the thing freezing up like the experience danlalane had. I'm not supposed to do any movement - no pendulums, pulleys, nothing until I see the doc at 14 days. It's not that I'm questioning my doctor - I trust him and personally know three people who have had successful shoulders done by him, but it's scary to get back all that ROM. He said in the recovery room that this injury/procedure has to be immobilized first to start healing. I guess a SLAP is just different than an RC repair.

drak
12-14-2009, 11:18 AM
Thanks, Drak. Icing regularly and pain/swelling well under control.

My biggest worry now is the thing freezing up like the experience danlalane had. I'm not supposed to do any movement - no pendulums, pulleys, nothing until I see the doc at 14 days. It's not that I'm questioning my doctor - I trust him and personally know three people who have had successful shoulders done by him, but it's scary to get back all that ROM. He said in the recovery room that this injury/procedure has to be immobilized first to start healing. I guess a SLAP is just different than an RC repair.

Glad to hear it's going solid so far. I also has a Slap tear (no screws for that) and frankly am surprised no pendulums at all, I started day one. I will not presume to question your Doc, but it does surprise me.

Drak

ab70
12-14-2009, 11:39 AM
most slaps are allowed pendulums very early on... you can check out slaptear.com and you will see that most people even with a few anchors start doing pendulums right away, but again your doc must have some reasons, still I would too worry about freezing up although it is much less common in males.

kcdtarheel
12-15-2009, 08:59 PM
I hope you're continuing to improve. I had a SLAP repair, reverse bankart repair and capsulorraphy nov 08 with 5 anchors and can relate to what you're going through. I was in the sling for 6 weeks but started PT on day 4. I was back on the courts at 4 months which was very early compared to what most docs allow. I was able to get back to playing at the 4.5 level fairly quickly but my serve was only about 75% of what it used to be. Groundstrokes came along quickly but serve took a lot more time. Unfortunately I developed adhesive capsulitis after the first surgery and never regained full range of motion so I had another surgery nov 09. This involved a capsular release, subacromial decompression, bursectomy, removal of a bone spur and the removal of lots of scar tissue. Thankfully I have regained full range of motion and will be much better off than after the last surgery. However, this doc won't even consider letting me walk on a court until 4 months and at that point will probably only allow groundstrokes and volleys.

Having been where you are with an extensive repair, including a SLAP tear, I can understand your challenges. Feel free to ask any questions. And definitely check out slaptear.com. Welcome to the community of slaptear survivors!!

BMC9670
12-16-2009, 05:53 AM
Wow! Quite some work you've had done. I hope it gets you back to full strength.

I'm feeling better every day. I have my follow-up next Monday and will learn more about the next step. Today is day 8 and I've only been out of the sling to shower and flex my wrist/elbow as directed.

One thing that bothers me is the motion of walking. The bouncing motion makes my shoulder feel like it's going to fall out of the socket. On the plus side, during a conversation yesterday I shrugged my shoulders (both of them) out of instinct, and to my surprise, it didn't hurt!

kcdtarheel
12-16-2009, 08:57 AM
I'm glad to hear you're doing so well. I can relate to the feeling you described that your shoulder feels like it is coming out of joint when walking. That is normal and will start to get better. Be sure to keep it immobilized and don't do anything that would jar it. The repair is very new and needs time to heal.

BMC9670
12-17-2009, 07:06 AM
Here's a question: any hints to make this darn sling more comfortable? The diagonal strap across my back has given me a blister just under my shoulder blade. It wakes me up at night digging into my back like a knife.

According to the directions and nurse it's adjusted correctly, and the injured shoulder/arm feels fine in it. But, man, these straps are killing me!

Here is the model I'm in:
http://www.donjoybraces.com/productcart/pc/DonJoy-UltraSling-III-ER-Arm-Sling-51p578.htm

EKnee08
12-17-2009, 07:27 AM
Here's a question: any hints to make this darn sling more comfortable? The diagonal strap across my back has given me a blister just under my shoulder blade. It wakes me up at night digging into my back like a knife.

According to the directions and nurse it's adjusted correctly, and the injured shoulder/arm feels fine in it. But, man, these straps are killing me!

Here is the model I'm in:
http://www.donjoybraces.com/productcart/pc/DonJoy-UltraSling-III-ER-Arm-Sling-51p578.htm

I understand! I was in the sling for almost 2 months and it was very uncomfortable and went through the same thing. I couldn't get a good night sleep until I was out of the sling. As a result, I nodded off at times during the day. Just remember, this will pass. The most important thing is to protect it and allow it to heal. In the scheme of things, this is just a blip in your life!
Glad to hear that otherwise you are progressing nicely.

slopoke
12-17-2009, 10:02 AM
Good luck and take it easy after the operation. Think long term, a lifetime of tennis, you're not a pro so don't rush the 'come-back' and re-injure the area at fault.

THINK LONG TERM............excellent advice. Follow instructions to the letter...nothing more and nothing less. I've had both shoulders done. Not fun but necessary. Let me know if you have questions.
sp

BMC9670
12-22-2009, 06:58 AM
Had my first post-op visit yesterday. Everything looks good so far, but man, was my shoulder stiff! Felt like the doc was going to snap my arm off!!! He said it was just my apprehension and that I had more ROM than I thought.

He was right. Had my first PT session today and it was amazing how much progress I made in an hour! It wasn't easy, but it really gives me hope. Only problem now is my doc's PT is not in my insurance network, so I'm paying out of pocket for a few weeks until I'm comfortable going to someone new. Effin' insurance companies!

slopoke
12-22-2009, 07:21 AM
A device that helped me is a pully with light rope contraption. The pully is mounted securely up high. Handles can be made from a large dowell...cut off four inch sections, drill holes in the handles for the rope. You use the good arm to pull the injured arm up and hold it at a higher level each day, thus gradually increasing the ROM. Ask your PT about it first. You can buy the dowell, rope, pully and hook at Home Depot.
sp

BMC9670
12-22-2009, 08:04 AM
Yep. They gave me one of these today for home use between sessions.

BMC9670
12-28-2009, 08:28 AM
I am now three weeks post-op and feel pretty good about things. This week was WAY better than week 1 and 2. I've been in PT for week and can already get my arm 110 degrees up in front and 90 degrees out to the side, all passive of course. Been doing some stretching and other things as well. Progress is in fractions of an inch, but there is progress.

One nice thing is that I can take the sling off and rest the arm on a pillow for a couple of hours in the evening while watching TV or reading. This is the first time I've felt normal since the surgery - and no pain.

Any experiences 3 weeks out of an RC/SLAP repair? Curious to know how this stacks up.

bee
12-28-2009, 09:09 AM
Glad to hear you're progressing along well.

Just a reminder: Don't pay too much for physical therapy. Learn from them, and then do the exercises on your own at home.

And, like I said before: The best physical therapy for me was when I could start swimming breast stroke in the pool. That was at 4-6 weeks, as I recall.

At 9 months, my shoulder was as good as ever and my tennis was better than before.

Bee

BMC9670
12-28-2009, 10:33 AM
I'm only going to PT 2 times per week and doing the exercises twice a day at home. He put together an entire program for me with all the exercises spelled out. Although I'm doing a lot at home, I rely on him to safely progress me to the next level, for passive stretching, and for ultrasound/electro-stimulation.

Twice a week isn't going to break the bank and I feel I need the supervision/progression until I'm a few months along so I don't hurt myself .

BMC9670
01-18-2010, 09:14 AM
Had my 6 week post-op today and other than a little more stiffness than he would like, my OS likes what he sees. Been in PT for 4 weeks and just added active motion to the program. Seeing progress every week.

The best thing is I'm free and clear of the sling!!! I'm also cleared for running, elliptical, and anything else that doesn't involve the shoulder heavily. I feel halfway human again!

I can't believe how much muscle atrophy happens in 6 weeks. My arm feels and looks like a few pieces of twine. Now that the sling is gone, everyday movement should help bring it back.

pshulam
01-22-2010, 05:44 PM
^^I am glad that your condition has greatly improved. Soon you will feel like a "full" human.

charliefedererer
01-23-2010, 06:34 AM
Thanks for your periodic updates. Glad to hear you're making progress. Way too many tennis players wind up with shoulder surgery, and your info here is good for all.