← Return to Concerns after Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement

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Thank you so much for your response! My arm is not frozen. The picture I posted is showing the extent to which I can externally rotate my left arm when my elbows are straight out. You should be able to watch a quick video clip with link below. If my elbow is straight down, next to my body, with hands at 90 degrees facing forward, I have external rotation, but the moment I start moving my elbows forward, and upward, I can't rotate my forearm outward.


My surgeon had mentioned, during my pre surgery consultation with him, that in the X-ray, it appeared that my socket was worn. He mentioned they can put in an augmented custom made piece to compensate for that.
I specifically asked if I would be getting an MRI, he said I really don't need one, because he will be better able to assess the rotator cuff while he's actually in the shoulder. Since I had no rotator cuff issues at the time, and his quick test in the office for rotator cuff strength showed it was good, I assumed there would be a standard anatomic shoulder replacement. In retrospect I should have insisted on and MRI, but he's the expert so I went with his suggestion.

turns out (from what I heard) that my socket was too badly worn, for that custom made socket piece to work properly. It only compensates for about 8 degrees of wear and mine was worse than that, so that's why they needed to do a reverse apparently.

What angers me, is why didn't the detailed CT Scan reveal this beforehand? I received literature advertising "Blueprint 3d Planning + PSI" that "creates an anatomic 3D model of your shoulder and virtually perform your shoulder replacement surgery".

If that's the case, someone certainly must have known my socket was too badly worn for a standard Anatomic Shoulder Replacement.

But I'm wondering if, and why, my reverse shoulder replacement will result in worse results with a good rotator cuff (pre surgery) than someone who had a damaged rotator cuff.
Again, I'm only 6+ weeks post surgery, but it seems I should be able to move my arm much better than I can at this point. Other aspects of my recovery are very good. I feel I could do push ups. Internal rotation seems like it was pre surgery.
I requested the "Operative Report" from the surgery (which my therapist recommended). He said he will interpret, if he can, any documented problems that arose during the surgery. I don't have an appointment with my surgeon until four months after the surgery. I think I will call and make a sooner appointment.
I'm hoping it will just take a bunch of time and hard work to get most of my motion back, but I'm really doubting it at this point. This is my dominant arm, so the prospect of having to support my dominant arm to brush my teeth as a result of the surgery is really gonna **** me off.

Thanks again for your reply!!

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Replies to "Thank you so much for your response! My arm is not frozen. The picture I posted..."

Link in above comment "expired". Here is a very quick video clip of me trying to externally rotate forearm. Just nothing there.

Good evening @fredaardvarks and @ddsack ......my goodness you have almost written a book. I have read through your responses twice and hope I can remember which one of you had which issues. As you may know, reverse shoulder replacement surgery has only been available in the US for somewhere around 18 years. It was developed in France and then brought to the Univ of Washington. My cognitive abilities are aging as I just turned 82 yesterday. I will try to share some of my experiences accurately and hope they are helpful.

When I had my reverse TSR at 70 years of age. there was no "Blueprint" 3D planning. Therefore, I was warned that the replacement might not fit perfectly. Post-surgery PT was not yet developed. My surgeon and local PT got together and worked out the program before introducing it to me post-surgery. My injury was the result of a tragic fall during which I severely dislocated my right shoulder and suffered three breaks in my right elbow. I too wore the minimizer.

It might be helpful for you to know that I had two Pre-surgeries. The first was an attempt at traditional rotator cuff repair. My surgeon told me that when he got in there it was like the "Grand Canyon" of holes. Then...because my insurance company was not very willing to cover the "reverse" my surgeon attempted a cadaver replacement. That was also a failure. One day I was in his office and watched as he slid down the wall onto the floor while talking to the insurance company. They thought I was too young and would require additional repair work as I aged.

He did win the battle and as I was wheeled into the surgical room, I noticed that there appeared to be an audience, including one of the manufacturer's engineers. My surgeon chose to stay in or near my room the first night. Even the anesthesist dropped in to make sure everything was o.k.

My post-surgery recovery was not excruciating.....just cumbersome. Because my dominant arm was the site of the injury, I had to train my left arm to do many life activities including handwriting. I probably qualified as ambidextrous. It was always hard to zip my clothes and use my keyboard.

Just now, I tried the movements that you have described and pictured. I have no problems and have a full range of motion. So somewhere along the way in the last few years, my shoulder has learned to perform exactly what it was designed to do. I recall that eating an ice cream cone was always a bit unbalanced with the elbow locked up higher than necessary.

So.....when did I regain full use of my shoulder? I think it was in the last few years. There was no recognition of the moment. I just know that when I eat an ice cream cone, my elbow stays against my body like it should and when the sheets come out of the dryer, I can fold them without giving in to total frustration. Be patient......you cannot change what has occurred. You can look forward to significant improvement.

May you both be safe, protected, and free of inner and outer harm.