Reverse Shoulder Replacement: Recovery process

Posted by mimi99 @mimi99, Aug 1, 2018

I am scheduled for this surgery in September. I have been putting it off as long as possible, because I am worried about recovery. I don't have a lot of help and am very concerned with how well I will be able to handle daily living activities with the shoulder immobilizer. If anyone has gone through this recovery process, I would appreciate any advice or input you may have.

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@basslakebabe19

My PT says I strained it but should heal in its own. Still am doing well and am slowly increasing my strength and range of motion.

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@basslakebabe19
I’m glad to hear it wasn’t more serious. I believe you’ll be more careful in the future, right? If not I’ll be more blunt next time, lol. How long has it been since your surgery?
Jake

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@jakedduck1

@basslakebabe19
I’m glad to hear it wasn’t more serious. I believe you’ll be more careful in the future, right? If not I’ll be more blunt next time, lol. How long has it been since your surgery?
Jake

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@basslakebabe19 Whew….thanks for the feedback. I wish you some quality healing time now. Good luck with increasing strength and range of motion. Don't forget to celebrate your progress. Go find some joy this evening. Chris

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@basslakebabe19

My PT says I strained it but should heal in its own. Still am doing well and am slowly increasing my strength and range of motion.

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@basslakebabe19, I don't mean to be a drag and yet I want to let you know of my concern. Not that your PT isn't qualified, however, if you were my daughter or good friend, I would want you to make sure that either you or your PT or both communicated with your surgeon. My memory is still working pretty well and I know that my surgeon walked down to X-Ray with me to make sure that he looked at the film before he let me leave. I would want that assurance especially since I have walked down this path. May you be healthy and content. Chris

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@jakedduck1

@basslakebabe19
I’m glad to hear it wasn’t more serious. I believe you’ll be more careful in the future, right? If not I’ll be more blunt next time, lol. How long has it been since your surgery?
Jake

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Surgery was July 15 and no longer wore the brace August 28. Am doing PT at home plus see a PT two or three times.

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@basslakebabe19

Surgery was July 15 and no longer wore the brace August 28. Am doing PT at home plus see a PT two or three times.

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@basslakebabe19
For some reason I didn’t think your replacement was so recent. Did your doctor say how long it might be until additional surgery may be required? Is your pain greatly reduced? Has your range of motion improved or is it to soon?
Wishing you zero pain and total range of motion.
Jake

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@spinginnie

I am told that I need a reverse shoulder replacement, left nondominant shoulder. I live alone and am wondering how much help I will need and for how long. Also, I live eight hours away from the Mayo Clinic which is where I would prefer to go.

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I had tRSR 1 week ago on my non dominant left shoulder. You will need help with just about everything. I need help getting up from my recliner, pulling my pants down and up, removing sling and replacing it, reaching things below shoulder level, etc. These and many other movements are too painful to do. Hopefully the severe pain subsides soon and I can do more on my own.

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Hi Debra. I went through this after a severe shoulder injury 18 months ago. I needed help with everything for the first couple of weeks – cooking, bathing, dressing. I would strongly recommend some live in help or dawn to dusk help at least for the first week.
Marilyn

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@jakedduck1

@basslakebabe19
I’m glad to hear it wasn’t more serious. I believe you’ll be more careful in the future, right? If not I’ll be more blunt next time, lol. How long has it been since your surgery?
Jake

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Surgery was mid-July. I am working on strength and range of motion.

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Hi, I've been told that I need reverse shoulder replacement surgery on my dominant left shoulder. I'm interested in someone who has had this procedure and whether they still feel that they made the right choice. I'm concern what my final range of motion will be like. Currently i have good motion with minor pain and have mixed feeling whether the surgery will increase or decrease the present mobility in the shoulder.

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Good evening @bernster, Welcome ….to Connect. Although we don't have medical degrees or backgrounds, our life experience has taught us about our bodies, our diseases, and specifically how to cope with and overcome our challenges.

One of my life challenges has been how to fix my right shoulder. Have you already had rotator repair? How did you hurt your shoulder? What else have you tried; physical therapy, acupuncture, medications? Have you seen a video of a reverse shoulder replacement?

Now that you have answered all of my questions and inquiries, I will answer yours. Yes, I have had reverse shoulder replacement surgery on my dominant right shoulder. My injury was a fall from a platform and down a mountain. And I wasn't bungee jumping. The essential information is that by sheer luck I ended up with an amazing surgeon who was current, up to date and a patient advocate.

As he came in to do the first rotator repair, he looked at me and said, "You know, you've got the grand canyon of holes in there". And he was spot on. So…..after the tissues healed he told me that he might be able to patch it together with a cadaver graft. However, there wasn't enough of my tissue for any connection to be made. Then he told me there was a new option…….recently approved by the FDA and developed in France. He sat me down and we watched the video. I was just blown away. To think that you can change the entire structural orientation of a shoulder. Wow! The major problem….insurance. At the time they weren't accepting folks who were likely to have post-surgery issues that would be costly. Too old, too young, too something or other.

This surgeon spent almost an hour talking to the insurer on my behalf. He won.

The surgery time came and I was introduced to an engineer from the manufacturer as well as a couple of other unusual participants. It went very well……there was the usual post-surgery discomfort. Two days later I was out to dinner with friends, learning to use my non-dominant hand without spilling everything. I was able to go back to work at my business and begin some gentle therapy within not too many days. I used a lot of ice and slept in the immobilizer with a special pillow. And here is a reminder: You cannot drive with your arm in a sling of any kind. Be careful.

So what is the status today, several years later? I have absolutely zero pain in the arm, shoulder, wrist, or hand as a result of the reverse shoulder surgery.

So what are you waiting for?????? the killer issue? No @bernster, I will be genuine here. I don't have the flexibility or range of motion I used to have. And my arm gets a little cock-eyed looking when I eat an ice cream cone. Still…….not bad. In fact, no pain is a bit of alright.

Please let me know if you would like any additional information. Hopefully, you will be able to return responses to my questions and I will see if additional information would be helpful.

May you be content and at peace.

Chris

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@bernster

Hi, I've been told that I need reverse shoulder replacement surgery on my dominant left shoulder. I'm interested in someone who has had this procedure and whether they still feel that they made the right choice. I'm concern what my final range of motion will be like. Currently i have good motion with minor pain and have mixed feeling whether the surgery will increase or decrease the present mobility in the shoulder.

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Really good information from Chris…. I was told that I would need one of 3 options on my shoulder. Replacement, reverse replacement, or possibly lower trapezius tendon transfer. The 3rd option was available after the MRI showed little arthritis in my shoulder. The advantage of LTTT is that it is most likely to get me back on a tennis court. It takes a muscle out of my back, weaves it into 2 achilles tendons from a cadaver, and rebuilds the rotator cuffs over the top of the shoulder. Of the 4 rotator cuffs the ones on top of my shoulder were completely severed, the one in front torn (he repaired that one) and the one behind was okay. I've had rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders years ago. I'm 3 months post operative and have JUST begun strengthening PT. Prior to this it was range of motion. Currently I can move my arm, passively, pretty much everywhere. Using a dowel behind my back I can pull my hand up , mid back, above a bra strap. There was a 6 week post op in an awkward immobilizer, but the pain has been very minimal. Have taken nothing stronger than a tylenol since surgery..(and I am a wimp). Very few surgeons perform this surgery. Many can, but few know about it. Anyway….. hope this helps. P.S. I'm 67.

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@artscaping

Good evening @bernster, Welcome ….to Connect. Although we don't have medical degrees or backgrounds, our life experience has taught us about our bodies, our diseases, and specifically how to cope with and overcome our challenges.

One of my life challenges has been how to fix my right shoulder. Have you already had rotator repair? How did you hurt your shoulder? What else have you tried; physical therapy, acupuncture, medications? Have you seen a video of a reverse shoulder replacement?

Now that you have answered all of my questions and inquiries, I will answer yours. Yes, I have had reverse shoulder replacement surgery on my dominant right shoulder. My injury was a fall from a platform and down a mountain. And I wasn't bungee jumping. The essential information is that by sheer luck I ended up with an amazing surgeon who was current, up to date and a patient advocate.

As he came in to do the first rotator repair, he looked at me and said, "You know, you've got the grand canyon of holes in there". And he was spot on. So…..after the tissues healed he told me that he might be able to patch it together with a cadaver graft. However, there wasn't enough of my tissue for any connection to be made. Then he told me there was a new option…….recently approved by the FDA and developed in France. He sat me down and we watched the video. I was just blown away. To think that you can change the entire structural orientation of a shoulder. Wow! The major problem….insurance. At the time they weren't accepting folks who were likely to have post-surgery issues that would be costly. Too old, too young, too something or other.

This surgeon spent almost an hour talking to the insurer on my behalf. He won.

The surgery time came and I was introduced to an engineer from the manufacturer as well as a couple of other unusual participants. It went very well……there was the usual post-surgery discomfort. Two days later I was out to dinner with friends, learning to use my non-dominant hand without spilling everything. I was able to go back to work at my business and begin some gentle therapy within not too many days. I used a lot of ice and slept in the immobilizer with a special pillow. And here is a reminder: You cannot drive with your arm in a sling of any kind. Be careful.

So what is the status today, several years later? I have absolutely zero pain in the arm, shoulder, wrist, or hand as a result of the reverse shoulder surgery.

So what are you waiting for?????? the killer issue? No @bernster, I will be genuine here. I don't have the flexibility or range of motion I used to have. And my arm gets a little cock-eyed looking when I eat an ice cream cone. Still…….not bad. In fact, no pain is a bit of alright.

Please let me know if you would like any additional information. Hopefully, you will be able to return responses to my questions and I will see if additional information would be helpful.

May you be content and at peace.

Chris

Jump to this post

Good evening Chris thank for taking the time to write and great input. To answer your question no I haven't had any rotator repair surgery. Two separate doctor have indicated that probably a previous fall off my bicycle(2013) and the incident where I slipped while carrying a treadmill on to a truck which jarred my shoulder when I didnt let go of the treadmill and ended sitting down still holding unto it (2019) caused the final "Coup d'etat". I've had physical therapy and still use a good portion of ICYHOT and other roll on lotions. Yes, I've seen videos as well as read several articles on this procedure. I went for a second procedure but I was told that I'm not a candidate for them because of the severity of my injury. I have a" massive full-thickness rotator cuff tear involving entire supra and infraspinatus tendon and portion of subscapularis tendon. Also partial tear of biceps long head." In other words the only solution is a RSR procedure.
I have continued to push the envelope and do therapy three to four times a week at home with resistance bands anchored to the wall. I did go back the second time to the therapist who was not only surprised at the range of my motions but whose words continue to reverberate in my mind " with your current range of motion I would reconsider the surgical procedure, you won't be able to do all this ". This is a person with the credentials and doing physical therapy for at least twenty years. I can lift my left arm and stretch it completely extended in the air, I can raise my arm and assist the right hand in bringing object down or up with minor discomfort, I can brush my hair and touch the top of my head or the back of my neck and brush my teeth. Things I couldn't do last year. I can extend my arm and carry a cup of coffee and drink from it with no problem. All these small victories I couldn't do at one time but I continue to be creative in ways to exercise the shoulder.
The killer issue was when he said " find another form of exercise cause if you fall of the bike I can't fix you" and the second expert surgeon stated we don't do miracles but I can assure you that you will be able to lift the elbow half way up ". Well now you can see why I made my way to this board seeking enlightenment.
Yes, its been trial and error progress as when I used a pole digger one afternoon and the shoulder seized up or when I cut a small tree with a small ax and my shoulder filled with blood under the skin and it took several days to get the craze look out of my eyes never mind the discomfort and pain.
I guess I'm not sure yet what will make me jump of the cliff and have the surgery but the fear of the unknown limitation to my dominant arm holds me back.
Again thanks to you and others that have taken the time with your inputs. It helps to clear the cow webs.

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