Nerve damage from reverse shoulder replacement surgery

Posted , 12 users are following.

i am 58 years old and had a reverse shoulder replacement 7 weeks ago. i have swellingin my arm and hand, no use of bicep, no use of tricep, numbnessof forearm, hand and upper arm. i can raise my wrist and curl my wrist after constant pt. my fingers are swollen but they all seem to work. just no feeling in them. saw a neurologist 3 weeks ago. no emg yet but he claims all recover - traction of the brachial plexus nerve - is his diagnosis. Has anyone out there experienced similar complcations?

if i had known i'd lose the use of my right arm i would have learned to live with the constant pain and limited range of motion from my arthritic shoulder. any ideas or experieces welcome.

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  • Posted

    Hope you feel better, an excellent doctor is in Boston, Massachusetts at Mass General Hospial, Jon Warner. 

    Best. 

    that is scary, never give up

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  • Posted

    I had reverse shoulder replacement three weeks ago. I am suffering the same thing that occurred with you. Am seeing shoulder doctor tomorrow. Am not going to accept squeezing a ball (hard when one’s fingers won’t move) and wait for swelling to go down. I am damaged. Trying to keep pain killers down as I hate how they make me feel. However, they provide the ONLY relief. The pain is horrible if I allow them to wear off. I’m hoping that you are finding some relief as I really need some good news. Using yoga to avoid panic attacks. Will even try acupuncture. You have my sympathy.
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  • Posted

    I had a bad shoulder injury in December, 2014 & had shoulder replacement surgery. After PT, still not good , had reverse shoulder replacement surgery, PT, then cervical fusion which the doctor said would help but did not. I am in constant pain, take norco, Gabapentin & Valium, sometimes tylenol for headaches. My ROM is 90 degrees but the big problem is numbness in my hand & I can't do very much, which depresses me. If they can fix people who have spinal injuries, there must be a doctor out there to give me my life back. I will never give up. I'm 65 & used to be very active. If anyone knows of a doctor who can help , PLEASE let me know.

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    • Posted

      An update for my problem. My shoulder surgeon sent me to a neurologist. After a nerve wracking EMG test, it was determined that the numbness and pain came from the nerve block they did pre surgery. Oops. Well, the treatment is heavy duty prednisone. I am already (2 days in) experiencing relief. I have hope now. The neurologist asked if I’d like to feel better within 5 days. Whoopee!! You bet! The test was to determine where the problem was originating. Turned out it was the brachial nerve group, which is where the nerve block is injected. Still hoping all goes according to plan. Hope this helps! Good luck!
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    • Posted

      Thanks for your response. I know I had a nerve block after each of my surgeries. One was really an ordeal, the other was very quick & was finished so fast that it surprised me. I've had 3 EMG's & they only said I had a touch of carpal tunnel. U of M wants to insert a nerve stimulator in my arm, but I don't know because of cost. I didn't have a choice for surgery because I had a bad injury. If my other shoulder hurts from arthritis, I'll live with it & never have this surgery again. 

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    • Posted

      I hear you! Better to live with it, IMO.  My nerve block was before the surgery. You had one after? Yuck. Perhaps second opinion on EMG ? They were going on about carpal tunnel with me. I was very emphatic that I had no problem BEFORE the surgery. Seems this surgery isn’t close to perfection. I’m sad to see people hurt more from it. Including me. 
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    • Posted

      How are you now? I had a Reverse Shoulder replacement 1 &1/2 years ago. My shoulder nerves were damaged. I will probably never be able to lift anything with that arm again - right hand and I am right-handed. I have bad numbness & tingling in my hand. I couldn't even hold my arm up long enough to put in a light bulb yesterday. HELP anyone?

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  • Posted

    I’m so sorry to hear that you have had a negative experience to say the least. Every reply on this is so horrible. I’m 57 and just starting the process of preparing for surgery in a couple of months. My surgeon says he thinks I’m too young for it a nd that he could try to go in and just scrape and clean up around my joint. The results would be possibly 6 months to 2 years of pain relief. It’s my left shoulder and I’m right handed. I hurt 24 hours a day and have no use of that arm from the elbow up. I can’t bare to move my arm away from my body at all. My opinion is why not have the replacement done now while I’m capable of under going such a procedure. I live alone and I can’t change my sheets sweep or mop or do any lifting. I have been like this previously but now nothing helps me. Has ANYONE had ANYTHING good resulting from reverse shoulder replacement surgery?
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    • Posted

      Thank you Tugars. This replacement was done after a failed repair surgery - which failed miserably. I think the replacement should have just been done; the tissue was too bad for a repair. In 2015 I had to have a reverse shoulder replacement in my left arm. It turned out great! Funny thing, both replacements were done by the same doctor. I think, though, that the doctor was careless when he did the right shoulder. There are many indicators that that may be why.  But it may be that the doctors held me in a bad position for too long and damaged the nerves (there were a lot of things torn in the right shoulder from the repair). I don't know if this helps, but I do know of others who have had similar operations and are very satisfied. But you must feel confident that you have a very good surgeon. If the replacement goes wrong, as long as the nerves and the muscles aren't damaged, they may be able to do the surgery again, but usually not with as good of results as you might have had in the first one.

      Best wishes that, if you go ahead, everything goes well. Keep me posted.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for replying to my comment. It’s very helpful to hear. I’ve been thinking that I would just be better off doing the fix instead of rigging it up for a mere chance at maybe up to 2 years of relief. I feel my odds are better now than later on after my health and body deteriorate even more than they already have. Statistics show that our lifespan now is in the late 60’s maybe early 70’s. I led a hard life and have not been able to work for many years now and I don’t see that changing in my future. I have basically no use of my left arm as it is now. I had my insurance nurse look into one of the surgeons doing my procedure and he seems to be in good standings and successful at his specialty. Please keep me informed on how you are doing. I pray that things improve for you soon. Thank you again. I have found comfort reading your reply.
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    • Posted

      Yes, just do the rshoulder replacement 

      It’s a tough recovery but you will gain greater range of motion and less chronic pain. 

      It will never be like your other arm 

      I can swim and do yoga and paint! 

      Best to you! 

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    • Posted

      Thank you so very much for the encouragement and reassurance. I was sold on the surgery but I had not been researching the correct method, then I went to the surgeon that specializes in it and he is the one that made me realize I was looking up the wrong procedure. So then I began researching this one and I seen so many negative posts. It concerned me at that point. So reading this from you is very reassuring for me I needed to hear something positive about it. Another person was kind enough to do as you have done. I’m glad I found this site. It’s so helpful to be in touch with actual people who have experienced it. I hope you continue to have success. I am curious what your age is? This surgeon thinks I’m too young, I disagree.
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    • Posted

      I’m 55, you will have to be cautious with it. Huge is that you do your research on the surgeon that will work on you. I interviewed 3 before deciding and picked the best one in New England, Jon Warner at MGH. 

      He encouraged it and said I had no other choice, another wanted to gain experience with me. Best of luck and remember you are the consumer! 

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    • Posted

      I was 66 years old at the time. Mine wasn't due to any problems like arthritis or old age related problems but to two falls straight back onto the pavement and an MRI. They decided to do a repair. Then I had two more falls and the doctor didn't get an updated MRI and should have because they should have just done a reverse shoulder replacement and skip the repair because it was doomed to fail. The reason for the falls, as it turned out - and I had to do the figuring myself - is that one of my doctors put me on a medication that has a side effect of loss of balance!  That's an understatement, even my reflexes to try to stop the fall did not work.

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    • Posted

      Good advice. I had my surgery done at Stanford Medical Center, Palo Alto, CA. and the doctor did one on my left a few years before with excellent results. Should have been one of the best places in the country. So, even with a doctor you think you can trust, things can go wrong but, as I said previously, I believe the doctor was just plain careless in the right shoulder operation. I think that, in general, the operation has a high degree of success. Best of luck to you.
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