Recovery from reverse shoulder replacement

Posted by jprust @jprust, Oct 18 9:18am

What are others experiencing after a revere shoulder replacement?
I am 3 weeks post op today from the surgery. I had one Physical Therapy session with only passive range of motion activities. I was cleared for driving as soon as I was not taking pain medicine. I quit hydrocodone 5 days after surgery. My sling was never an immobilizer like I had after rotator cuff surgery. It is just a cloth holder to keep my arm close to my body and take the weight off my shoulder.
I am doing pendulum and swaying exercises 5+ times a day and bending my elbow. I start more active range of motion exercises next week.
I wanted to write this to give people encouragement if you are going to have this surgery. I needed a little help the first few days. I cannot lift anything that requires two arms, so heavy pans, etc. I have been showering, dressing myself, washing my hair, cooking, driving since 5 days post op. I am 74 years old.
One thing that might have helped my recovery. I went to physical therapy for 6 weeks before surgery to strengthen both shoulders.
Here’s hoping that all of us have successful outcomes and restore our function.

Interested in more discussions like this? Go to the Joint Replacements Support Group.

Hello @jprust, it sounds like you are having a good start to your recovery after your reverse shoulder replacement. The proactive approach of rehab before your surgery is something that was also recommended to me well before I had my knee replaced. The idea is that the stronger your muscles are prior to surgery, the quicker you can rehab after surgery. This of course largely depends on how bad your joint is though.

I'd like to invite @rainerhans, @artscaping, @loreleiks, @momsys, and @barocco to this discussion to share their rehab and recovery after they underwent reverse shoulder replacements and any additional words of wisdom they may have for others about to embark on this surgery.

@jprust, it sounds like you had a pretty good plan before you underwent surgery. Are there any more tips you have to make things around the house easier? Things that maybe you wouldn't have thought about until your surgery made you realize it was something you could have been proactive about (meal prep, having things on a lower counter, etc.).

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@JustinMcClanahan

Hello @jprust, it sounds like you are having a good start to your recovery after your reverse shoulder replacement. The proactive approach of rehab before your surgery is something that was also recommended to me well before I had my knee replaced. The idea is that the stronger your muscles are prior to surgery, the quicker you can rehab after surgery. This of course largely depends on how bad your joint is though.

I'd like to invite @rainerhans, @artscaping, @loreleiks, @momsys, and @barocco to this discussion to share their rehab and recovery after they underwent reverse shoulder replacements and any additional words of wisdom they may have for others about to embark on this surgery.

@jprust, it sounds like you had a pretty good plan before you underwent surgery. Are there any more tips you have to make things around the house easier? Things that maybe you wouldn't have thought about until your surgery made you realize it was something you could have been proactive about (meal prep, having things on a lower counter, etc.).

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I wasn’t able to strengthen my muscles before my surgery because of my pain.
I would say, what helped me the most was: Movements (physical therapy) from day 2 and icings nearly 24/7 the first days.
I had great therapists with both replacements and they forced me to work hard.
Whenever I was too weak, they massaged the surgery area with Vitamin E oil, also on top of the scars to keep it smooth.
They had a therapy plan they followed, like every week they increased movements and measured them from different angles.

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Good evening @jprust. Thank you @JustinMcClanahan for introducing me. I agree with you. @jprust, you have hit the nail on the head. Do everything you can to be in charge of your post-surgery recovery. I was actually excited to read that you went to PT 6 weeks before your surgery. And it sure helped. Was your reverse shoulder surgery on your dominant arm?

I had two other surgeries on the shoulder before the reverse so I wasn't able to do the pre-surgery exercises. #1……the rotator cuff repair was a failure….. called the Grand Canyon of holes by my surgeon. #2…..the attempt at a cadaver graft was also a sad failure.

At the time of the reverse surgery I had my own retail business……two Maine Coon kitties and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. On weekends, my granddaughters would come up the mountain to take care of my pets. My friend Kathy, who shared a design business with me, actually just moved in for a week. I saw her coming up the elevator with her suitcase and knew that I would be supported courteously.

At the time of my reverse shoulder surgery, it was still a very new procedure in the US. So my surgeon and physical therapist worked together to develop the post-surgery exercises and treatments. I felt very grateful for all the assistance and support I received.

Enjoy your new shoulder. Having pain-free days is worth the effort you will put into your recovery. Please keep me up to date. I am excited for you.

Chris

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@artscaping

Good evening @jprust. Thank you @JustinMcClanahan for introducing me. I agree with you. @jprust, you have hit the nail on the head. Do everything you can to be in charge of your post-surgery recovery. I was actually excited to read that you went to PT 6 weeks before your surgery. And it sure helped. Was your reverse shoulder surgery on your dominant arm?

I had two other surgeries on the shoulder before the reverse so I wasn't able to do the pre-surgery exercises. #1……the rotator cuff repair was a failure….. called the Grand Canyon of holes by my surgeon. #2…..the attempt at a cadaver graft was also a sad failure.

At the time of the reverse surgery I had my own retail business……two Maine Coon kitties and two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. On weekends, my granddaughters would come up the mountain to take care of my pets. My friend Kathy, who shared a design business with me, actually just moved in for a week. I saw her coming up the elevator with her suitcase and knew that I would be supported courteously.

At the time of my reverse shoulder surgery, it was still a very new procedure in the US. So my surgeon and physical therapist worked together to develop the post-surgery exercises and treatments. I felt very grateful for all the assistance and support I received.

Enjoy your new shoulder. Having pain-free days is worth the effort you will put into your recovery. Please keep me up to date. I am excited for you.

Chris

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Thank you for your kind words. I have about a week and a half of wearing this sling if all goes as planned. I have not had any pain so far. But I have only done passive range of motion exercises and 5 minutes on a pulley. This was my non-dominant hand, but since I am a left-handed person I use both hands for many activities.

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I am not sure if this is where I write to ask a question. I had reverse shoulder surgery on Tuesday. The old appliances were removed when they found an infection. Stayed in hospital for three days and started IV Then home on Friday afternoon. By 7:00 pm my arm starts bleeding. I go to an ER and they find a pocket of blood. They cleaned it up and taped me together. Saturday was ok and Sunday night saw swelling in my lower arm and upper arm. I am on a pic line also. Now my arm is swollen bad from shoulder to wrist and black and blue. I am icing and hopefully will get to doctor’s tomorrow. Has anyone had this happen? This was my fourth shoulder surgery. Thanks

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Good evening @michelleperryman. Yes, this is where you ask a question. Welcome to Connect. However, this sounds like a bit of a rough recovery from your reverse shoulder replacement. I am glad you will see your surgeon in the morning. I have also had four shoulder surgeries. A couple of them were a bit of a mess. One reverse surgery worked very well. The three others just didn't measure up.

I am coping with my left rotator cuff failure by having MFR (myofascial release therapy ) twice a week. At 81 with multiple orthopedic surgeries, I am hoping that I won't have to endure another reverse.

Please let me know how you make out tomorrow. Is this your dominant arm?

May you be free of suffering and the causes of suffering.
Chris

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An Accidental Alternate Solution
I was scheduled for reverse total shoulder replacement after a fall which caused a fracture of my humerus. The piece from that fracture tore my rotator cuff tendons, and two different orthopedic doctors said the X-rays and MRI indicated physical therapy and steroid injections were not likely to be a viable solution. I was doing PT while waiting for the surgery and getting some improved range of motion and some relief of pain, but I reached somewhat of a plateau and couldn't get any better. I ended up at a dermatologist because of getting hives, and she said the best relief of the swelling and itching was a steroid shot. Within 24 hours of that shot given in my hip, my hives were much better, and so was my shoulder. A couple of days later, I noticed greatly improved range of motion and almost no pain. With 6 weeks of physical therapy, I now have 40 degrees of improved range of motion – as good as my other shoulder and no pain. I still have a little less strength in that shoulder, but it is also improving. None of us know if this will last, but who would have guessed that having hives could be such a blessing.

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Update:Here I was-all happy and positive. Yesterday I was visiting my brother on his birthday. We were walking back from lunch and I tripped on an uneven 2 inch edge at the end of his driveway. Fractured my wrist in three places-my survey arm wrist. Also strained something under my breast that makes it impossible to move quickly or take a deep breath. And my left wrist is sore and my ring finger is swollen and black and blue.
I am pretty sure having a cast or a splint on my arm is going to make shoulder rehab take a back seat for awhile.
I am focusing on staying calm, taking easy small breaths and waiting to see what the Ortho surgeon says this week.

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@jprust

Update:Here I was-all happy and positive. Yesterday I was visiting my brother on his birthday. We were walking back from lunch and I tripped on an uneven 2 inch edge at the end of his driveway. Fractured my wrist in three places-my survey arm wrist. Also strained something under my breast that makes it impossible to move quickly or take a deep breath. And my left wrist is sore and my ring finger is swollen and black and blue.
I am pretty sure having a cast or a splint on my arm is going to make shoulder rehab take a back seat for awhile.
I am focusing on staying calm, taking easy small breaths and waiting to see what the Ortho surgeon says this week.

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That is on my surgery arm not a survey arm. 😇

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@jprust

Update:Here I was-all happy and positive. Yesterday I was visiting my brother on his birthday. We were walking back from lunch and I tripped on an uneven 2 inch edge at the end of his driveway. Fractured my wrist in three places-my survey arm wrist. Also strained something under my breast that makes it impossible to move quickly or take a deep breath. And my left wrist is sore and my ring finger is swollen and black and blue.
I am pretty sure having a cast or a splint on my arm is going to make shoulder rehab take a back seat for awhile.
I am focusing on staying calm, taking easy small breaths and waiting to see what the Ortho surgeon says this week.

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Oh, my goodness @jprust. I am so sorry about your injury. Do you have to wait until next week to see your surgeon? Have you tried using an ice machine to calm things down?

Please check in with me after your appointment with the Orthopedic surgeon. I will be here for you.
Chris

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