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I am 18 years old and I’ve dislocated my shoulder three times. I saw an othropedist and he said I teared my rotator cuff. The only option I was given was surgery. I do have pain when I work and carry stuff. I’ve done physical therapy but my shoulder still came out. Is it worth getting surgery to repair it or should I just leave it alone?

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  • Posted

    Sounds like you’re shoulder is very unstable. Have you had an MRI?  I know surgery is a major deal but it’s the one joint that goes in every direction and is so crucial in our everyday activities. I finally had rotator cuff surgery on the rt shoulder because it was severely torn and even though it was very painful post op (I’m 8 months out), I don’t regret it. It’ll only get worse if you don’t have the surgery. My left one is partially torn and I’m back in PT strengthening it. 

    Get a couple of opinions from surgeons but seriously consider it. It’s not going to repair itself

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    It depends.  So I’m 33 now and I had exact same injury when ours around 18 or 19 years old if I had a time machine I will go back and have the surgery 100% just because you see a good orthopedic surgeon and they really specialize in shoulders then they can repair it pretty well. Now I’m not an orthopedic surgeon, I didn’t see your MRI and I didn’t examine you. My advice and I think you should take this advice is do not consult people online for medical advice. Get a second opinion see what they say get a third depending if you have to.  Looking back I wish I had the surgery, period. Additionally, it depends on your activity level if you are an active person and you do a lot of overhead stuff, you’re a swimmer or  you have apprehension, I would say do the surgery.  Now that being said surgery is not something to take lightly people always say I’ll just get the surgery. Now there are side effects and there are risks. It is painful, expensive and a long rehab.  Realistically, you wouldn’t be back to doing your normal level of activity fully until at least a year out however, in the long scheme of things I would have done it. I’m sorry if there are any grammatical mistakes I’m doing this from voice to text.
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    I agree with second opinion if you are not sure. Things like dislocating shoulders tend to get worse and dislocate easier each time. That is painful.  Did you see a therapist who specialized in shoulders?  I tore my rotator cuff and have an active job and also physically active. I waited 5 months before even seeing a Dr because I thought I would do my own therapy first and see how it went. It did improve some but was still painful, especially sleeping at night. When the ortho recommended surgery (after MRI revealed significant full thickness tears) I was really worried and not sure I should do it. But I am a PT and also consulted with another PT and an Occupational Therapist who specializes in hands. They both recommended doing it and I pretty much knew it was the best change for longevity of the shoulder. I had surgery 18 months ago. I was back to work in 6 months. The recovery was not a picnic, but also not as bad as I thought it might be. I think I had a pretty realistic view of recovery and, although it helps to read the advice on forums, many people on forums paint a horrific picture...which might not be your picture. Yes, the first couple weeks were painful and the pain reduced each week. Yes, I had a sling on for 6 weeks (I also have a bicep repair, glenoid repair and some spurs shaved off). Once I started therapy the progress was pretty steady. It's easy to look back and say it was not so bad...but each day was a challenge and when you are in the recovery process you feel like you will never be better. Thankfully my kids were grown so I didn't have to care for children and my Mom was able to come stay with me for 3 weeks. If you decide to go forward with surgery, ask the people here what they did to prepare. don't overwhelm yourself with too much information. Just do some research and decide on a plan of action, then decide what you need to do to achieve the best results. Good Luck!

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