Torn Tendon. Whether to operate or not!

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18 months ago I was in intense agony after a bad fall. I was referred by my doctor to have a scan which showed a total rupture of the Super Epinauex Tendon in my shoulder. The break was one and a half cmts at that time. I saw an Orthopedic surgeon in Bordeaux who told me that he could either operate or I could undergo a course of kinesetherapy, (Osteopathy) treatment in order to try and strengthen and re-educate the surrounding muscles to take over from the torn tendon. I decided to go with the exercises and not the operation. A deciding factor in this decision was that I am on a high dose of anti- coagulants, (Warfarin), due to my having metallic heart valves.

As time went by I became pain free and got back good use of my right arm,. I am an artist and although generally I found that I could do most things ok. Occasionally raising my arm for work would cause increasing discomfort.

Then about a month ago for some reason the pain returned with a vengance. I was referred to another Orthopedic professional this time local to me, and had a Arthroscan.

The result showed that the gap in the torn tendon had increased to 3 centimetres.

The surgeon has now recommended that in order to avoid severe arthritis I should undergo a "Reverse total shoulder replacement" operation.

As I type this on my computer (having to use the mouse in my left hand, because it is too painful to use my normal right arm), I am confused and depressed.

I have an appointment in a week to have a cortisone injection and am considering making an appointment to see the original surgeon in Bordeaux for a second opinion.

Has anyone else had this dilemna ?

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10 Replies

  • Posted

    Supra Epineux in English is Supraspinatus.

    Also physiotherapy is what I think you mean, not osteopathy.

    I would get a second opinion. A reverse shoulder replacement is a massive operation. Did you ask the first surgeon why they can’t just repair the tendon?

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  • Posted

    I too have been referred for a reverse replacement on my right shoulder.for failed RC surgery last nov. I have no pain just have problems reaching and can't raise my arm. It is all mental with me since the diagnosis! I suffer from anxiety attacks ( shaking, rapid heart beat) now. My husband thinks that my symptoms are physically caused, not nerves. anything out of the norm sets me off.It doesn't help that I am having a flare up under that arm of a chronic infection(had surgery 9 yrs ago & for which there's no cure) Can't drive because I have problems reaching the gear shift.

    I've gotten very few positive reviews of this procedure. Orthopedist says 1 thing ,patients another.

    Basically I too am depressed and know how you feel.

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    • Posted

      Hi Marsha. Yes life throws these curved balls at us, usually just when we think things are fine. As they say...Life can be a b***h, but then what,s the alternative? I,m sorry to hear about your shoulder problems and really do sypathise.  By the way. What exactly was RC surgery?

      Good luck!

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    • Posted

      I am a nervous wreck now. I was fine til I fell last June. I haven't gotten used to my lack of movement and the thought of another surgery "freaks" me out. I am very anxious about the situation. Other patients via this forum have expressed their experiences with reverse and they say they're sorry it was done. I know everyone is different, but reverse is not just repair so ......

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    • Posted

      Try a course of gentle physio to improve movement and strengthen muscles before you make any decision. Especially if you are free of pain. How old are you? Good luck.
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  • Posted

    PS my torn tendon is the supraspinatus
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  • Posted

    You should get a second opinion since a reverse shoulder is a big op. I have had 2 standard shoulder replacements as the result of a shattered humeral head in a ski accident. I currently have no real pain but also can't lift my arm up above waist level since I also have a ruptured supraspinatus. I have no real pain. I would gladly have a reverse replacement since my surgeon says it would give me much increased function. The big problem with reverse replacement is that they only last about 7-10 years then there is nothing that can be done and the pain is apt to return. I'm 57. So the real question is how old are you? You also want to get a doctor who has reasonable experience with replacements, there are not that many in the UK. Lots in the US if you are there.

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