Shoulder complications after surgery

Posted , 7 users are following.

Hello....I am at 10 weeks after shoulder surgery to repair a full thickness supraspintus tear, decompression, and debride labral and scapular tears. I am going to PT.

Immediately after surgery I felt burning at rear of upper arm even though I had a nerve block. My shoulder also literally felt like it had been broken or pulled off my body and stuck back on crooked. My pain has gotten worse instead of better.

I have more pain now and in places I never had before. I also cannot put my hand on my hip or behind my body or head. Never had issues with that prior to surgery. Also found out from surgical notes that the surgeon cut my CA ligament. I am wondering if that caused shoulder displacement. My shoulder feels so foreign to me now. I feel like maybe there is nerve damage. Its so weak. Even with the tendon tears I had good strength and ROM. Now I am a mess.

I know its still early, but I am getting worse.

Anyone have these kind of issues? They have refused to do an MRI.

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9 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi, Terry:

    Welcome to the forum. My right shoulder was fully functional even though I had supraspinatus tear, labrum damage, torn bicep. After surgery, like you, it was incredibly weak and stiff and lacking ROM.

    It's now 1 year 5 months later and I am almost 100% back to normal except for a bit of stiffness at the extreme end range but that is also diminishing.

    Everyone is different and some have more pain and more ROM or less pain and less ROM or any other combination you can think of including those aches and pains you are experiencing in places you never dreamed of. The surgery and repair makes you weak and it takes time to heal and a long process of recovering ROM and strength.

    Talk to your surgeon and therapist, they should offer explanation and give you confidence and reassurances that you are on the mend and that it will get better. Definitely keep them posted about your pain levels, concerns and ask questions.

    This whole process plays with your head. Concentrate on the exercises, use ice, perhaps a tens machine, biofreeze to help with the pain. Sometimes soaking in a warm tub is also good and a good massage is great. My therapists were hands on and when I had a knot in my muscles they could literally massage it out.

    Hang in there!

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    • Posted

      Thanks for reply. I finally got the MRI. Just as I suspected.....My tendon has a re-tear. I also now have adhesive capsulitus. I think the PT tore it when she forced my up back over my head. It hurt so bad it brought tears to my eyes.

      The horrible pain is still behind my arm. I also seen a neurologist. He agrees that I may have nerve damage to the brachial plexus nerve. I am getting an EMG and an MRI of my neck to rule out cervical radiculopathy. The surgeon sais he can redo the surgery or do a reverse shoulder replacement.

      He also insists that him cutting the CA ligament was ok and did not and will not cause me any problems. I do not agree . I can feel such a big difference in my shoulder that it's unreal. I have no strength in it at all. Takes a lot of effort to just lift my arm.

      I know its a long recovery, but I am

      angry that I was not informed prior to surgery about him cutting CA ligament. Now I am facing another surgery. Ugh. It maddens me that drs just do what they want without regard to the outcome.

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  • Posted

    I am familiar with this having had massive tear involving upper part of subscapularis along with full supraspinatus. From my own internet lay research, it is strongly preferred to avoid cutting the CA ligament and is currently generally not done (albeit cutting it makes it easier for arthroscopic access in some cases.

    From what I've read the CA ligament can be a humeral head stabilizer which becomes important when there is deficient subscapularus. I've also read of studies that after decompression and arthroscopic repair where there is retear which is not infrequent after surgery, ROM may actually decrease and pseudoparalysis may worsen (requiring greater strength to raise arm). Google this stuff yourself.

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    • Posted

      I did do lots of research on the CA ligament after the fact unfortunately. I am angry he did not tell me before. I even told him I did not choose one surgeon because he was going to cut my bicep tendon for no reason. My bicep tendon is fine. So this dr just cuts the ligament for his convenience!

      The surgeon swears it will not cause any issues. I do NOT agree. I can feel a difference. Its like my shoulder feels collapsed.

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    • Posted

      Your surgeon is wrong. You are correct. The CA ligament can be crucial where there are other tears. I had similar experience post surgery where the surgical notes clearly said excision of CA ligament, and the Dr. even denied that was accurate! I knew the difference; it left me with irreparable pseudoparalysis above 80-85 degrees forward flexion.

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  • Posted

    Hello. This surgery and recovery is absolutely CRAZY. You will have issues during recovery. Did the surgeon use anchors in your repairs? What does your PT say? Have you reached out to the surgeon? If the surgeon does not respond to your concerns have you sought a second opinion? I had a freak accident and dislocated my shoulder. In the process of the dislocation I ripped subscapularis tendon over 70%, and completely ripped infraspinatus and supraspinatus off the humeral head. It was the WORST injury EVER. I had a wonderful surgeon who used anchors to reattach tendons. 15 weeks from the surgery my PT ripped the supraspinatus off the anchors. It was a gut wrenching re-injury requiring immediate revision surgery and a new PT. Nearly 3 years to date of the original injury and I have 100 % ROM and very good strength. Start making a plan, stay positive, use your ice. Speak to the PT and reach out to dr. or second opinion. GOOD LUCK!

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    • Posted

      Yes. I had anchors in humeral head.

      The PT I had also ripped out my tendon. I was wrenching! Hurt like hell. She did it so fast I had no time to stop her. These PT's are insane! They should be held accountable for hurting people.

      The surgery and recovery are hard enough without them adding more pain. So now I am out big bucks and even more pain and time to recover.

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  • Posted


    My freak-accident caused shoulder dislocation resulted in similar extensive rotator cuff tears as yours --supra, infra and subscap. Arthroscopic repairs failed twice so I received a superior capsular reconstruction but still have forward flexion limited to 90 degrees due to continuing subscap deficiency. I was 68 at the time of injury, and reportedly age is a negative factor on successful repair. May I ask how old you were at the time of your injury?

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