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Two surgeries upcoming, which to do first

I have an Osteo wanting to do a complete shoulder replacement. After the shoulder is healed completely, my board certified neurosurgeon is going to be doing a 2 level L2-4. My questioning is which should be done first. There are so many things to think of. I'm going to need a walker or rollater walker (I already have both left over from previous surgeries. I've been working with PT so I have my strength up right now so I can walk without a walker though not for long distances, which makes me think that I should do the shoulder first. After it heals completely I will then be able to put weight on the shoulder and walker to get the other surgery done.

The other side of the coin is to do the L2-4 Fusion first. I could put the weight on the shoulder for a short period of time, but what happens if my PT regresses and I am not able to put weight on the shoulder to use the walker? The question is how long will I need the walker after the fusion? The less time, the less worry. Less time on a walker will create less stress on the shoulder, which is barely holding up now. I've been pushing the physical therapy with questions on what they would do. They are so vague, I'm sure they don't want to answer and have something not go right.

I'm actually lucky in that if something goes all wrong, my first floor of my house is set up for a wheel chair (sort of). The padding under our carpeting is very thick so someone would have to push me around all the time, unless the fusion is what goes wrong and it is before the shoulder so I could still wheel myself in the wheelchair. Our first floor is set up so that there are no steps, I could even get outside without help. Although by then the weather will be too nasty.



  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,877
    The only true answer you should get is from both of those doctors. Also input from your Physical Therapists might help.

    Recently having both shoulders totally replaced, you could be looking at anywhere between 6 months to 18 months before you are as close to normal as you will be.

    The recovery time for any of my lumbar surgeries did not take nearly as long.

    When I had one of my hips totally replaced last year, I know I needed full strength from my shoulders while
    I used the walker and then a cane. Even though I didnt need the walker that long (about 3 weeks), I
    know that I needed to have my shoulders in good shape.

    Two questions I would ask.....

    Which hurts more?
    Which one is keeping you from doing the things you want to?

    Then of course get your doctor's recommendation

    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
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