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Author Topic: Anyone here have total shoulder reconstruction surgery?  (Read 10019 times)
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jpinard
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« on: December 13, 2004, 04:12:17 AM »

I just dislocated my shoulder AGAIN, and it started spasming horribly, but thankfully I got it back in this time without another trip to the hospital (unlike the last 2 times  :cry:  )

All my ligaments and tendons are either stretched way out or torn.  I've been living with the problem for 10 years, but this year has been the absolute worst and I can no longer hold my arm up above my head, or do things like vacumm because that motion throws it right out of the socket... and it hurts like you wouldn't believe, arggh  (it's not like those people who can dislocate joints to be a circus act - this is like crazy spasming freak-fest where my arm suddenly looks like it belong to a different human.)

So, have any of you gone through total shoulder reconstructive surgery?  This is what the surgeon told me I needed 8 weeks ago when I was rushed to the hospital to make sure it wouldn't tear out of my body (that's what it felt like at least).

He didn't go into much detail but said it was very involved.  They'd have to go in and slice everything (ligaments, tendons, some muscles) holding my arm to my body, cut them down to size to make them all shorter, and then re-attach them.  He said recovery from it would take 6 months.

Anyone go through this?  I'm right-handed and that's the shoulder, so would I be able to play on my computer during that time?  Is the rehabilition pretty difficult?

Thanks for any insight!
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Daehawk
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« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2004, 06:45:31 AM »

I dont know at all but I feel for ya. Nothing like something you cant fix at home to make ya worry. I wish you the best with it.
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Spiff
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« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2004, 06:51:24 AM »

Been there. Quit counting dislocations at around 50 or so, I believe. I'm right handed too, and that's the one they did on me.

Have a scar from my collarbone to underneath my armpit, 3 titanium screws holding the cartlidge in place, and it happened so often, that I have flats spots worn into the both ball and socket of my shoulder.

Basically, they reattached the cartlidge, and sewed the muscles and ligaments tight enough that I can't rotate my shoulder into the position where my shoulder can dislocate again. If I hold my upper arm tight against my body, I have less than 90 degrees rotation outward. It helps keep the shoulder stable.

Graphic descriptions below. No reason to lie to you. It will hurt.

I can say now that it's worth it because I can actually throw a baseball again (but no velocity), and don't worry about it coming out in my sleep (which happened more times than I care to remember). But, the rehab is an absoulte killer. You will have ZERO mobility. None whatsoever. Your physical therapy will be to stretch out the muscles, and help them get stronger. While your shoulder is immobilized, they will atrophy.

I used a full size bean bag chair for a pillow for a month. It hekped keep my shoulder in a stable position, and kept it supported while I slept. It hurt, but Vicodin and Valium will be your friends. Keep in mind, you may need help in the bathtub (you won't be showering), and you for damn sure won't be driving. Oh, on a more personal note: Learn to use your left hand in the bathroom. :wink:

I actually heard snaps and pops while I was doing PT. It was my muscles stretching back out. It hurt so bad I was crying. It makes a dislocation seem painless. I kid you not. But, eventually, that will go away. It took me about a year to be totally free from the surgery/therapy pain, but it still hurts when the weather gets real damp and cool. Right now, I feel like I have gravel in my shoulder socket, and I've got an appointment scheduled with a specialist after Christmas.

It's a brutal surgery, but if it keeps your shoulder in place, it's almost a no-brainer. Let me know if you really want more info. I hate to be so candid, but I'm not gonna lie about it. You need to know all that's gonna happen. The surgery is the first step. It's actually the easy one. Physical therapy is where you'll actually do all the hard stuff, and the pain will actually get real bad. But, IMO, it was worth it.
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jpinard
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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2004, 11:27:26 AM »

Spiff this is what I needed to know.  becauseof my Cystic Fibrosis, this makes the risk of surgery and the aftermath all the more difficult.  I had a central picc line in my right arm, and that made things difficult to do my IV's.  

And yes, it sucks because I can't do hardly anything without it coming out.  it wouldn't be so bad if I could put it back like I used to.  but now it sometimes gets twisted around backwards and I cann get it back in on my own, and the whole thing spasms and hurts like hell the whole time.  2 DL's ago, my arm was backwards on my body (did that while sleeping).  Woke up, I had one normal arm, and one backwards arm, arrggh!  If it didn't hurt so much it'd be funny.

The surgeon mentioned something about the pt being very difficult... that's why I needed to know.  So will I be able to do anything on the computer?  Like play WoW?  I'm not sure I can go 6 months with no computer time.  I'll get bored and go nuts.

By the way, please don't leave ANY details out.  That's why i came here, the Docs ALWAYS leave all the details out.
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Spiff
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2004, 04:04:27 PM »

Working on a PC will be diffucult. I had it done on a Thursday morning, and went back to work 11 days later. It was a huge mistake. I was still taking painkillers (only not 2 Vicodin at a time, just 1), and I wasn't eating well. I lost 11 pounds in those 11 days. I looked like a zombie.

I had to wear big shirts over my arm in a sling, and even using a mouse was a challenge. Add to the fact it still hurt, and it was no fun. You won't be gaming much at first, I can promise you that. You just plain won't feel like it. Your only concern will be to make sure you time the pain medication correctly. Do not let it start hurting.

The initial pain from surgery is what got me. I don't exactly know how to describe it other than it's a "bone" pain. You'll hurt deep into the socket of your shoulder. The incision area, and the muscles were tight, but the pain in the joint itself is what was so bad. Imagine your worst toothache, and magnify it to the size of a shoulder joint.

PT is when it things get kinda rough for a while. There's light at the end of the tunnel, but it's gonna take some time and ALOT of work to get there. After my arm came out of the sling, and hung down by my leg, I could only lift it out about 3 inches. All my mobility was gone. I was rehabbing with a pitcher from the Texas Rangers (I was working in Irving Texas when I had it done) who had rotator cuff surgery. The difference is that in a rotator cuff operation you'll have mobility, but no strength. I had strength, but ZERO mobility. The therapists will work you until you cry, and then some more. They very sympathetic to you pain wise, but they'll push you until you think you can't do anymore. But you wil do more.

The initial therapy was using a pulley setup that you pulled with your left hand, and it lifted your right. You'd do that, hold it, and then release. Over, and over again. Then, they had a machine that was like riding a bike, only you use your arms to pedal instead of your legs. Really nice to get you loosened up. Another one was they laid me on my back on a table, with my right shoulder just hanging over thedge. They then put a 2 pound weight in my hand, and had me try to hlod the weight as long as I could while my arm rotated outwards of the table. That was one of the worst things I've ever done.

The recommendation I have for PT is to take 4 Advil or Motrin about an hour before you go in. Not aspirin. The Advil will help your muscles relax a little, and it will help with the soreness after you're done. By the time you start PT, you should be long off the painkillers. However, my surgeon told me that if I needed them during PT, he prescribe 'em.

I had forgotten that you had CF. I remember you mentioning it on the other boards now. If, you think you can do the surgery, I'd say go for it. You cannot keep having it dislocate. I could always put mine back in place, until the dislocations got so bad, that circulation was being cut off to my hand. I'm assuming that was the case since it changed colors.

Best of luck to ya.
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2004, 05:35:12 PM »

A girl I've been dating is a gymnastics coach, and apparently a lot of injuries are occupational hazards - she's had total shoulder reconstruction, and the said it was between 4-6 months recovery time.... I don't have much info other than that.
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jpinard
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« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2004, 07:55:58 PM »

Spiff how did you dislocate it the first time?

I'd never had a sprain or broken anything before...  but I was in the hsopital and was on Demeral (a ton) for pancreatitus.  I'd falen asleep with my arm under my pillow, and the sheet got wrapped around it.  The phone was on the bed, and my Mmom called that morning to wish me a Happy Birthday (onee of a few birthdays I've spent in the hospital).  Well the phone clanging rattled me out of my deep med-induced sleep and I sat straight up, but my arm stayed under the pillow.  I called the nurse and said (through my groggy voice) I'd dislocated my shoulder.  She was like. HUH?  She looked at my arm and paged a doctor.  So the doctor comes up and is a total jerk.  I told him I'd dislocated it and he says to me, "I'll be the judge of that!"  So he looks at it and has to run out of the room cause he's so grossed out.  So they call a surgeon, they put me to sleep and put it back in.  The next month I was in the hospital it was immobilized, and I didnt realize how sore it was til I came off all the Demeral.
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Spiff
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« Reply #7 on: December 14, 2004, 03:16:37 PM »

Quote from: "jpinard"
Spiff how did you dislocate it the first time?


Water skiing backwards and caught a stray boat wake. I thought my parents were going to have a stroke. Once I had a minute to relax, I slipped it back in place. It was the summer before my sophmore year in high school. I did it twice during football season in the fall. The problem was, in 1979 & 80, in order to really know you had a problem, they had to have x-rays while it was dislocated. There was no way I was going to be in pain that long.

I finally had an MRI done in January of 96, and they could see there was a problem, but not how bad it truly was. When I went in for the surgery, it started out arthroscopic, and when he saw how bad the joint was, he did the reconstruction. I can say now that 15 or so years of dislocations was miserable. I've had to have friends pull me out from under cars I was working on because I dislocated my shoulder reaching for a wrench. The last 8 years have been nice not having to worry about having it come out of joint. I will say this though, if it does dislocate again, there's no way in hell I'm gonna be able to put it in place myself. The muscles and ligaments are just too tight.

The common theory nowdays is that if you dislocate a shoulder more than once, you ought to have a specialist check it out. The muscles are usually stretched out by then, and they need to be repaired. Greg Norman had a new procedure done, where they basically heat the muscles up, and they shrink back to normal. It's a lot more complex in reality, but that's what the new technology can do. He was back playing golf in less than 2 months. It was done arthroscopically, and on an out-patient basis too.
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jpinard
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« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2004, 03:36:02 AM »

Were you water skiing backwards on purpose?!?!?!
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Spiff
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« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2004, 03:14:50 PM »

Of course! We had a set of trick skis that we used to play around with when the regular skiing got monotonous. It actually isn't too hard at all. Once you get used to the idea of sliding around on banana peels, it's fairly easy to learn to spin all the way around, and ski backwards. It just takes a little time and patience.

My parents had a nice 23' boat, so we spent every weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day at the lake. Best thing was, they had no problems with my brother and I taking our friends and girlfriends with us. My stepdad drove the boat, my mom hung out in the sun, and us "kids" water skiied (sp) all day. My parents were really cool about it too. If we happened to be dating someone and their parents were concerned about the arrangements, my mom would call and answer any questions they had, and reassure a concerned parent it wasn't a sanctioned sleepover.
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jpinard
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« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2004, 08:42:32 AM »

Oh wow, that sounds nice.
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