Rethinking decision for surgery

Posted , 7 users are following.

I am scheduled to have rotator cuff repair surgery but am having second thoughts. Here is the backstory... (FYI - I am in the US so it would be easy to reschedule the surgery at a later date if I choose - however, I have my deductible paid for the year so the surgery would essentially be "free"wink

I have been having some pain at night in my right arm (right handed) so I went to see the orthopedic surgeon. He did an MRI and I have a severe rotator cuff tear that was obviously from an old injury. I can trace it back to an incident about 5 years ago. He said the only way to repair it would be surgery but told me it was up to me. I went ahead and scheudled it. Now, I am having second thoughts for several reasons. 1) I hate the thought of doing it so soon after my last surgery (I had bilateral TKR in June). 2) Really hate the thought of being "one-armed" over Christmas. 3) The length of recovery might be longer since he wasn't sure he could repair it arthroscopically. 4.) (and the main reason) - Other than some discomfort at night with I can usually remedy with ibuprofen or change of position... It doesn't bother me. I know my right arm is weaker than my left but I don't do heavy work. I have full range of motion. It really doesn't affect my daily life.   I'm concerned that if I don't do it now, I will regret it later but it really doesn't bother me now. I've heard that after surgery, some people have a stiffness that never goes away. I know I would be in for possibly 6 months of rehab until I would be back to normal.  Oh, I am a 55 year old female. 

I need opinions, would you do now it if you were me? 

0 likes, 15 replies

Report / Delete

15 Replies

  • Posted

    To be honest you answered the question yourself in my opinion if it doesn't effect your daily life and you control your pain with over the counter medication it's a no Brainer TO ME I have had thirteen operations starting with a rotator cuff and if you can get away with out having surgery put it off for as long as you can I am only 32 and if I could go back I would think very long and hard about about my options

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I had a full thickness tear to my supraspinatus tendon. After 18 months it didn't cause me a lot of bother (ocassional pain, restricted movement and weakness) but I went to see the surgeon anyway. He said that eventually the humerus would "ride up" in the socket causing increasing arthritis. So although you may not be bothered with discomfort now you had better think about the long term future. Two surgeons told me that if it was their shoulder they would have the operation and that was good enough for me. After 6 weeks in a sling I start physiotherapy on Monday.

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      That's exactly what I amafraid of - not doing it now and regretting the decision down the road because it becomes an even bigger problem. Thanks for the sharing your experience. 

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    if it ain't broke, don't fix it...but you went to see the surgeon so it must have been bothering you.....

    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      Yes, it does bother me... not terribly but worse than it was so I probably need to consider that. It is a severe tear - that shows up on an MRI. I think I am just dreading another surgery so soon after my last and trying to give myself permission to back out. 
      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    if it ain't broke, don't fix it...but you went to see the surgeon so it must have been bothering you.....

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    This is a personal decision. Id want to understand exactly what type of rotator cuff injury you have and what weaknesses it will cause today and over time, and determine if you are ok living with it or not. For example, if your injury causes you to give up something you love to do or not. Many people live with rotator cuff tears in their fifties and later with managable pain. I would definitely wait until after Xmas if you decide on surgery. I would also get a second opinion as shoulder injuries are always tricky. Good luck.
    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Have you done any PT? Had any cortisone shots?
    Report / Delete Reply
    • Posted

      I am 58, had my RC surgery 8 months ago, but, I had hurt it and my pain was pretty major. There is no easy answer. Rehab can take up to a year. My range of motion is not quite what I wish it was, but I can hook my bra behind my back again so that is great! wink I don't envy you this decision. Do a lot of research on rotator cuff surgery, perhaps that will help you decide. Ask a therapist. Good luck. I wish you the best.

      Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Thanks everyone for the replies. Went ahead with the surgery... tear was very significant, took a 3" incision and 5 attemps to get tendons reattached. Recovery is going very well so far. just worried about tearing it out asgain (just posted new question).

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    I would wait. You just had major surgery on your knees and your body is still trying to recover and repair itself. Having Rotator cuff repair is a long drawn out beastly process. I am a 60 yo  ICU nurse and am use to lugging,turning, and lifting heavy patients. My tear was huge, involving  3 tendons and 4 anchors. The ONLY reason I went for surgery was because I was in so much pain I couldn't concentrate on daily activities. I am 2 months out and I still have pain but I'm investing in the PT to pull me through (and pain medication). I will be back at work in January with restrictions. If you don't have pain, then wait. It takes your body a lot longer to heal after 50. Also, another consideration is to know how large are your tears and are they partial or full thickness. Knowing these aspects of your condition will give you an idea about your prognosis and expectations.

    good luck to you!

    Report / Delete Reply
  • Posted

    Ok see ya went good for you! 
    Report / Delete Reply

Join this discussion or start a new one?

New discussion Reply

Report or request deletion

Thanks for your help!

We want the forums to be a useful resource for our users but it is important to remember that the forums are not moderated or reviewed by doctors and so you should not rely on opinions or advice given by other users in respect of any healthcare matters. Always speak to your doctor before acting and in cases of emergency seek appropriate medical assistance immediately. Use of the forums is subject to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and steps will be taken to remove posts identified as being in breach of those terms.

newnav-down newnav-up