My Shoulder Surgery. All the details, plus new information as to why I had so mu
by Jason,posted Feb 11 2009 6:35PM
You may have heard me talking about pain pills and my shoulder surgery. Today, I found out what was causing my pain for the past year. I'll explain, and some of it might make you cringe, but first a quick recap.
On February 17th, 2008, I was playing basketball (alone) and fell while running for a rebound. I slammed to the ground and broke my shoulder in two places. A few months later, I found out that a third fracture had also occurred, but that wasn't identified until an MRI.
I tried physical therapy for a few months and saw improvements, but I never got more than 75% of my motion back. My shoulder would pop and click during different movements. The good news is that it didn't hurt. The bad news is that I was given the option of having surgery to "clean things up," or live my life with a shoulder that was about 3/4 of what it should be.
Throughout this entire process, I was nervous that I hadn't done enough to rehab my shoulder. It's embarrassing enough to break your shoulder playing basketball alone, but to later find out that you had to have surgery because you were too much of a wimp to gut it out in physical therapy would be more egg on the face. Almost 9 months had gone by and I decided to go with the surgery.
The surgery was a two part surgery. The first part was arthroscopic. They cut three little holes in my shoulder and went inside to clean it up. The second part was a manipulation. While I was totally under, they were going to move my shoulder around and get the motion back that was lost.
I was at the surgery center at 6am. I was home by 11am. It was either a case of modern medicine being amazing, or modern health insurance saying "we'll pay for the surgery, but we're not picking up the bill for lunch. Go home."
The recovery was much more pain free than I had expected. Some people....many people....medical people were predicting that the pain after my surgery would rival any pain I have ever experienced before. The reality is that after my surgery I was sore, but the pain wasn't bad at all. On a 1-10 scale, I think the pain never reached higher than a 4.
Fast forward 6 days. Today I went to the doctor to find out how the surgery went from his perspective. He explained to me that the surgery went pretty much exactly how he expected it to go, but with one exception.
It turns out that my rotator cuff had slipped into one of the three fractures. As the bones healed, a piece of my rotator cuff was pinched inside of the bone. Imagine a crack in the sidewalk. Now imagine putting your finger in the crack in the sidewalk. Finally, imagine the sidewalk crack closing up with your finger still inside. Now make a fist with that hand. It might be tough, right?
That's basically what happened with my shoulder. The rotator cuff slipped into the break and as it healed, it was stuck INSIDE THE BONE. Gross, huh? Just like your finger in the sidewalk crack would make it hard to form a fist, the tension caused by my rotator cuff being stuck made it impossible to get my full range of motion back.
Once the surgeon went in and poked around in my shoulder, he was able to release the pinched rotator cuff and do some other little clean up procedures. As a result, I should get complete motion back in my right shoulder.
In less than a week since the surgery, I am already able to move my right arm more than i was able to move it after three months of physical therapy last year. Does moving it hurt? Yes. The great news is that I'm on my way to being back to 100%