Rotator cuff surgery

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Hi guys,  sorry not posted for a while hope those of you who had knee ops around April last year and gave great support to me are doing well.  I’ve recovered from my knee replacement brilliantly but just as one problem got sorted I was told I needed rotator cuff surgery the last few months have been hell I’ve been in so much pain but I’m finally having my operation on 16th March.  Has anyone had this surgery my doc hasn’t told me much I’ve been told I could be in a sling for up to 6 weeks. I’ve been online and read such conflicting stories I would love to hear from anyone that’s has had it done and what I can expect and what I can do to make things easier. Thanks xx

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  • Posted

    Shoulder surgery is a rough road, but eventually your pain will be gone.   Keep your eye on the big picture.  I have done it a couple of times and learned a few things. Do as much now as so you can take it easy after.  I froze a lot of meals...well my husband's specialty is peanut butter sandwitches, so if I wanted anything else, I needed to do this.  Depending on the procedure you will be in a sling 4-6 weeks.  Hope it is not your dominant hand!   To make it easier to dress, I bought some spaghetti strap camisoles with a built in bra shelf from Amazon.  Can step into them,  pull them up, put your arm through the strap and you are set.  I wear a button down shirt over, unbuttoned of course and then put on  the sling.  Plan on sleeping in a recliner if you can for at least 2 weeks, maybe more.  Have a few ice packs....you prob have them leftover from your knee.   Ice is def your friend. Most people start PT 3-4 weeks after surgery,sometimes longer.   You won't be able to drive for 6 weeks.  Taking a shower is an adventure. ha ha There's no way to wash your  good arm, since you can't move your bad arm.   Try to keep in mind,  everyday will be a step forward to feeling better.  My PT guy was amazing and at 3 months I had full range of motion and no pain at all.  I wish you the best and hope your recovery goes smoothly.   Also, every surgery is different and every surgeon has different protocols.  That's why you see so much conflicting information on the internet. 

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    • Posted

      Thanks you gave me some great tips and answered most of my worries.  Fortunately it’s not my dominant hand and my husband does all the cooking anyway and I’m definitely going to get one of those tops I struggle putting my bra on now so will definitely need one.  I am worried about sleeping I’ve read you should sleep in a recliner but I don’t have one what did you do and when did your pain start to get easier after the op.  I am used to pain I had a knee replacement last year but I’m going on a cruise in May it was booked last year when I was told I would have my op before Christmas which didn’t happen so I just wanted to know if my pain would be a lot easier by then.  Thanks take care 😀

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  • Posted

    Many people on this site have had rotator cuff surgery. Mine was 4 1/2 weeks ago. And yes you will have this “immobilizer” not just a sling, on for six weeks. You have to sleep in it which is extremely uncomfortable. I have heard the rotator is more painful than any other surgery as far as joints go. I’ve had both of my knee meniscus done and this is by far the worst pain.

    All surgeries are different however!

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  • Posted

    Hi Lisa, I had fallen off a ladder twice so the examination showed that I had severe arthritis and no rotator cuff left. Hence a reverse polarity shoulder replacement which was five weeks  ago. The good news is that there is no bleeding to speak of and the pain is manageable because of the meds. Be sure to take these as  the pain decreases after a couple of weeks and then you can then decrease the amount of tablets. 

    If the shoulder is your dominant one, I would suggest practising putting in socks, underwear, using your other hand beforehand so that it doesn’t come as a shock, and gives you a measure of independence.  I wore jogging pants etc until I trained myself to pull up jeans . That

     said, you have to accept that for a while you will be dependent on others . The sling is an absolute nuisance, as in my case I have been wearing it 24/7 until two weeks from now. I only remove it to do exercises thrice a day. The latter is phasial for about a year in my case, perhaps less so for you? 

    Re hygiene, use baby wipes for washing as until the wound heals, you cannot wet it so showers are out as well for a while.

    Sleeping is a problem as one has to lie on one’s back . I slept in my bed, propped up on pillows with a long one separating me from my husband!!!

    I bought a couple of pull on bras which gave my husband great delight in helping me pull them down!. You’d be surprised how quickly you adjust.

    Hope all this helps and good luck with the op 

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    • Posted

      Thanks Valerie the fact that you are going through it now and managing makes me feel better.  I have arthritis everywhere.  I also fell on my left shoulder and it started to get better but I then fell again and that’s when it completely tore.  My problem is that the fall happened 3 years ago but my consultant took over a year to diagnose it was a tear he kept blaming my arthritis.  I feel better about what you said about sleeping I sleep on my back propped up now anyway because my shoulder is so bad and I have arthritis in my right so can’t lie down properly.  I’ve got a pretty good pain threshold anyone who has had a knee replacement knows how painful it is it’s just I’m going in a cruise in May it was booked last year when I was told my op would be done  before Christmas so just hope I’m ok by then.  Are you glad you had it done has the op made a big difference to your range of motion .  Thanks for taking the time to talk to me it really helps 😊

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  • Posted

    To be honest, I can’t comment on my range of motion yet as I’m still Wearing the darn sling and you are expressly forbidden  certain movements eg don’t move your arm sideways, backwards or upwards. So until I remove the sling in about two weeks , I  have no way of knowing the range . Hope that answers your question . 
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  • Posted

     It’s true everybodys surgery is different. And all doctors protocols are different. I did not sleep in a recliner at all. I needed to be in my bed so a friend that had the same surgery had one of those wedges that you put in the bed. I piled with Four pillows and slept on that. It was very comfortable, except for this immobilizer.  I was able to move my legs and sleep with little my dog.  Don’t have a husband taking up the bed so that’s not a situation for me. My daughters came and cooked for me every night my other daughter came and washed me every morning and helped me change. The hardest part for me was walking around in this immobilizer. It is not a regular sling. Unless you’re having a different type of surgery. Mine was a 95% rotator cuff tear. I also had a large calcium deposit removed because the tear was over 10 years old. I was not prepared for this pain. I hated the oxycodone they gave  me for pain.

    It stopped me up, it made my nose so dry I had nosebleeds constantly, and it made me depressed. I took it for three days only and then switched to Tylenol. I’m very active so I’ve been doing a lot of walking, a lot of squats, a lot of leg lifts. I can’t just sit and watch TV all day so I putter in the garden and I walk my dogs, Go out to dinner with friends. They goodness for my friends that come and pick me up and take me places. That’s another problem you can’t drive for 12 weeks. I hate that because I love driving. I think it’s because I’m so independent.

     If you have somebody cooking for you that’s great. Because I’m so self-sufficient it was difficult for me to not be able to do these things on my own. Like wash and blow dry my hair, put make up on, get dressed in cute clothes and go out, the most simple things. You’re lucky it’s not your dominant hand mine was, so I had to learn how to brush my teeth with my left hand which isn’t easy and things like that. I am into week 5 postop I get to take this disgusting, ugly, cumbersome immobilizer off in 1 week.  Yippee!!

    The doctor gave me some stretches to do which were very painful at first I was crying, but after doing them now for five days they’re not as painful. I do see a light at the end of the tunnel. But it is much more painful than both of my knees that I had a meniscus cleaned up on. Here’s to being active, my doctor said the reason I’m having all these problems is because I have been very active all my life. I’m approaching 60 this year. Oh well beats the alternative. 

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  • Posted

    Hi Lisa....last year I had tendon repair from falling on my outstretched arm.  I tore 2 tendons, my bicep was unrepairable.   I had surgery Feb 24th and by early May I was discharged with almost full range of motion and no pain at all.  Depending on when in May your cruise is, you should be okay, although pushing a bit.  You  won't be able to carry any luggage (that's what we have husband's for).  Be very careful about over doing it.   I  re-tore mine 6 months after surgery.  We were moving  and I  did  too much lifting and packing.  Paying for that now as I had surgery Feb 15th, this time a reconstruction using cadaver tissue.  Ugh.  Is the cruise a week?  Even if you are still in PT, it's not going to be a problem at that point.   You can keep doing some exercises on the ship.  And remember they have a work out gym with lots of equipment you can use.  Another hint is to get some slip on shoes.  I don't wear any shoes with heels anymore.  Too  afraid of falling.  For all 3 of my shoulder surgeries  my doctor  allowed me to shower as long as I  didn't get the surgical site wet.  My husband taped a grocery bag over  my shoulder, like a poncho effect.  After 2 weeks I could take a shower without it.  Heavenly.  Happy to hear it is not your dominant hand, mine is and that adds lots of additional challenges.  I'm so clumsy with my left hand.  Good luck on your surgery.  Let us know how you are doing.  As I said I just had surgery Feb 15th and have some  pain but it not taking any big time drugs now.  Just ice after I  do home exercises 

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    • Posted

      Hi grammie thanks for your reply it’s great to speak to someone that’s been through it although 3 surgeries sound tough. The cruise is first week In May sounds crazy doesn’t it but I booked in October last year as I was told it would be done for Christmas but our hospital cancelled all operations due to a really bad winter which is why it’s being done so late and I’m not cancelling it again lol.  Hopefully as you say I will be out of my immobiliser by then and it’s Physio exercises and my husband will do my carrying etc lol and daughter will help me pack and as you say there is a gym which I can use so younhave made me feel a lot happier about that.  I will try the grocery bag idea I hadn’t thought of that. No doubt I will be posting again once I’ve had the op so any advice at that point would be most appreciated. Thanks hope your recovery keeps going well.
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    • Posted

      Did you get travel insurance?   When  it gets closer if you feel like you can't do it, you can postpone your trip.  But a cruise does sound like a delightful way to recover smile   Are you going to have to travel far to the port?  I wouldn't so  any zip lining or cliff diving or kite flying  ha ha   Some nice easy excursions will be fun.  Sometimes I just stay on the ship and enjoy everything without the crowds, or take a short excursion and back to the ship  

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    • Posted

      Hi grammie, no we always leave our travel insurance to the last minute so if I cancelled I wouldn’t get my money back anyway and after talking to you I feel a lot better about going and like you said you’ve been on cruises so you can make them as active or as inactive as you want my intention is too just chill most of the time the most active excursion is a gondola so think I will be okay.  I had to cancel a cruise a long time ago due to illness and I got back a fraction of what we had paid so they can carry me on a stretcher into the ship lol but I’m going 👌😁

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  • Posted

    Rotator cuff repair is surgery to repair a torn tendon in the shoulder. The procedure can be done with a large incision or with shoulder arthroscopy, which uses smaller incisions.

    The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder joint. These muscles and tendons hold the arm in its joint and help the shoulder joint to move. The tendons can be torn from overuse or injury. 

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