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Have a question about shoulder surgery first??

leocat46lleocat46 Posts: 125
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:21 AM in Neck Pain: Cervical
As you know i am having surgery 8-21 on my rotary cuff,etc. I never thought about it but with my neck issues still a problem, will my neck be able to support or hurt like heck with a arm sling for 6 wks.?? since i am having my shoulder done first? surely my ortho has thought about this, or is this something i won't find out until it is already done? a little concerned now. if anyone has any thoughts please respond thanks

LEO :?


  • Hi Leo,
    I am having rotator cuff surgery too 8/28/08. My mom says good day for surgery with all those 8's in the date LOL
    I had surgery on my neck 3-21-08. Two levels were done, c5-c7. I questioned my OS as to would my neck be fused enough to support the weight of my arm in a sling. They took x-rays to see how much I am fused and sent them to my NS to review, and to give the go ahead. I haven't heard nothing back yet, this was only done Monday. Nice to have a friend going thru the same on this list... We will be able to learn from each other our experinces on the shoulder and the neck..
    Getting to your question, since you haven't had surgery on your neck yet is to ask the doctor. Sometimes they don't always remember everything going on. Maybe they have a special sling, that doesn't need to go around the neck to help support the arm. I have seen some ice suits??? Forget what they are called, that seem to be velro and wrap around the body and arm just.
  • hey there!!

    As you know I have not had the rotator cuff surgery, but I wanted to let you know I am here to support you.
    I am sure that your surgeon has this neck issue in mind already. I think it is commone for the surgeons to do a shoulder surgery before a neck, but I am not a doc and every doc has their own way of dealing with things and every patient has their own individual needs etc.

    Not sure if you have done this yet or if you will see the surgeon for another visit before surgery but this is what I would do.
    I would come up with a list of questions to ask. If I did not have another appt. with the surgeon, I would set one to go over all your questions and concerns. Tell the staff the reason for the appointment. Maybe you will not need to go in and the Sureon can call or correspone with you by e-mail to answer your questions.

    I will be praying for you to have a successful surgery and good recovery. Please PM if you need some extra support. Hope the suggestion heps.

  • Its good to know we are in this together with friends! i am so glad to find you all here. actually Chrissy i do have an appt. this morn. , be there early 8:30 for surgery consult, i will be told instructions,etc. i will ask then about neck if it will hurt my neck in sling. I do know it bothers me if someone gives me a hug, and kind of squeezes me tight (LOL!) have gotten alot of those lately, ya know kind of compresses my neck. so i am just concerned that a arm sling hanging around my neck pulling down will bother me. so i will ask about alternatives, and let you know.

    JUST ME - i will have 7 days under my belt, when you have your surgery. Is yours your left or right? and are you right or left handed? Ok i can type pretty fast on computer . BUT it is my left shoulder, i am right handed. I will be down to one arm, and am really going to be pokey then, LOL! so many things i am thinking about using one arm, that could be very awkward! going the restroom, oops, and i will not be able to do dishes, isn't that a shame, LOL :D , my 3 kids and hubby will have to kick in just a little more. we do have a dishwasher though. I've heard sleeping in those things are hard. I can only lay on back of my head so long before it bothers me, because of neck. i have to turn to get relief . so we will see. I am sure there will be alot of issues to deal with, I guess that is what they make good drugs for! well i need to go jump in shower before my appt. will let you know what they said. take it easy you two. will keep in touch. LEO :O
  • Hello everyone,

    I just wanted to share this with those that are having shoulder surgery. Sleeping with the sling can be difficult and can affect how your shoulder heals. If you lay with your shoulder propped up, like with a pillow under it, then it will cause problems for you in PT. During my left shoulder rehab, I was sleeping in a way that I was pulling my shoulder in like I was protecting it and it really caused me problems during rehab. If you can lay on your side, something you can try that I did that helped was to put a small pillow under my arm while I slept. It really did help take some of the pressure off of the shoulder. Sleeping on your back is good as long as you can make sure your shoulder is laying flat.

    You should start PT soon after your surgery. My Dr encouraged me to take my arm out of the sling at home after the first week or 2. This really helped me heal faster as I would wear the sling to work and at home I would take the sling off and just let my arm hang. After the second week, I didn't need the sling anymore even though my Dr wrote my profile for me to wear it for 30 days.

    Each persons rehab is different and I am sure you will find what works for you. If you have any questions after you have your surgery, please let me know. I will be glad to share what I went through to get me better.

    Just wanted to give you some final encouragement. After both of my shoudler surgeries I have full use of my shoulders and pain free. I am very active in sports, weights, running, etc...

    Good luck and I wish you the best.


  • I had acdf surgery in Oct.2007 2 levels c5-6 and c6-7. I had both shoulders operated on prior to this. The first was open surgery in July 2005 which was major repair. They had to repair the rotator cuff, and reattach the biceps tendon and clavicle. That put me out of commission for about a year. The shoulder froze immediately after surgery and PT was slow going, and unfortunately, that shoulder still isn't quite right. I had a different doctor for the second shoulder which had less injuries and the surgery was done arthroscopically. That was in August 2007. I wore a sling after both and I really didn't notice any more pain than usual except occasionally, in which case I would take the sling off for a few hours. However, I cannot even imagine wearing a sling after the spine surgery! I still have cervical pain now and a great deal of pain between the shoulder blades. I think a sling at this point would be unbearable, and it's been 9 mos. already. Getting the shoulder done first seems to make sense to me.
  • I went to my dr. appt. with nurse, who went over surgery consultation with me. 8-21 at 2:00 . that means i have to go all day without anything. i would rather have it in the morn. but i really don't have a choice. thanks for the advice on your surgeries. she said i am doing the right thing for having my shoulder done first. My dr. says i will be in a sling for 6 wks. , i will try to keep that in mind when i am trying to sleep about pillows. I have been doing that for quite some time about using another pillow to hold on to when i am sleeping on my right side. i cannot have my arm hanging down, it hurts bad, and i have to have my neck in a certain way for relief also. i am sure you all experienced this. also said no ibuprofen, no anti-inflammitories, nothing with blood thinners in it after the 7th. she was so nice today and answered all my questions and made me feel very comfortable.
    she told me how important it was to listen to everything
    they tell me, and i will do fine. she told me about a
    friend she knowed 4 wks. post-op , bent down to tie his
    shoes and tore it again, needless to say more surgery. i
    have heard everyone on here talk about their back surgeries
    with same thing. i do not plan on it. next appt. with my
    NS for neck on sept. 4th. we will see what happens then.
    i love talking to all of you. we will keep in touch and
    all take care. ;)
  • My surgery is at 7:30am I was glad I will not have to wait and think about it all day. My neck was done first, for the doctors thought all my pain was coming from my neck. NO one listened about the shoulder hurting like heck...Just the pain will be better after neck surgery...yeah right. Oh well hopfully soon I will feel like a new person.
  • Had to laugh when I read your "Don't forget to breathe" comment. When the extreme pain hits, I started to notice that I hold my breath sometimes!
  • Sorry you didn't get morning surgery...but you seem to be less anxious after speaking with the nurse about all the details. I always dread going off the ibuprofen pre-surgery. I never realize how much it helps until I have to go off it!
  • I forgot to say that i did ask her about the arm sling, and my neck issues. she was describing how the arm has velcro and wraps around me. she said it should come around my upper back , but not up against the neck like they used to, she said i should be fine. i should be supported pretty good, my arm will not hang down at all. they way i understand it , it should be flat against my body. boy , i keep thinking of all the things i am going to have problem with with one arm, thank god i am right handed.
    take care LEO
  • Hey Leocat,

    You will learn to adapt to only having the use of one arm.

    I have had 4 surgeries on my left arm. I am right handed. I had 3 surgerie on my left wrist all of which I was placed in a long arm cast for 6 weeks. The fiberglass kind which I did have a sling for but ony used while out. The 4th arm surgery was on my left elbow and again there was a long arm 1/2 cast. My arm was wraped in this plaster type splint that covered half my skin and then the rest was wraping.

    After the first wrist surgery I got well adapted on how to do things...go to the rest room..dress...wash dishes..at one point in my old house I did not have a dishwasher.

    I am single and have no children so I was on my own a week after surgery.

    I know shoulder surgery is a bit different, but you will adapt and find ways of getting things done.

    I am praying for you to have a successful surgery and good recovery so you can move on to the other issues.

  • yes i know i will adapt. i will have to learn. because have 3 children , and they start school on 26th, 5 days after. and husband will have to work. though he will be there day of and day after. so i will be there by myself quite a bit of time. my husband works right down the road, he always come home for lunch, for 1 hr., so he will be able to check on me. we have a cordless phone next to bed also.
    well chrissy take it easy. always LEO

  • Hi leo,
    I too am wondering how I will do things. I have 4 kids and hubby, but they will be going back to school a few days after my surgery. We are strong women, and I am sure we will figure it out :) I hate elastic pants... I like my good ole blue jeans. Don't know if that will be a thing of the past for awhile. I talked to a woman the other day and she made her husband a couple shirts. She took the seam out of the side he had rotator cuff surgery on, all the way up to the arm pit, and put velcro in all the way down the seam. She said it made it so easy to get the shirt on and off.
    My biggest thing will be wanting to keep the house clean, that is going to be a battle. With kids, dogs and a husband they make lots of extra work. The cooking I hope they will do, and if I am lucky they will clean their own clothes. The rest will get dirty, dusty and a mess. Will have to overlook it :(
  • #:S It is so funny you should talk about keeping the house clean. Today, my 12 yr. old daughter and I got on a cleaning binge somewhat. I washed a few curtains, she washed windows. she mopped that back room, and helped me clean . I felt like a woman who is 9 mths. pregnant, what you call (nesting) instead getting ready for a new baby, i am getting ready for one armed whatever ??!!! LOL
    ~X( ~X( I am thinking about all that stuff also, though my husband is pretty good. this is not the first time he has had to take care of me. and he does a darn good job. I have never been down to one arm though, pretty limited to what we will be able to do, we will see. i know i will pay for this tonite , moving and doing things i know i shouldn't. but i told my husband it is pre-surgery cleaning. I was pretty depressed yesterday, talking to creditors, and i had just had enough. i broke down yesterday, i slept most of evening, woke up for a couple hrs. then went back to sleep and slept all night again. my body was pretty wore out , and my brain of thinking of finances. it is very hard to cope with everything and trying to keep your body from hurting also. i know you all understand. well JUST ME keep talking, maybe we can give each other hints. You take care LEO :?
  • Hey Leocat46
    I know your surgery is coming up on Thursday. I will be busy going to see my NS this week, and hopefully hearing more from my OS, about do's and don't do for my shoulder surgery coming up on the 28th. I hope everything goes well, and you get fixed as good as new again. 8> If you have any questions or concerns, PM me! :)
  • Yes i am nervous as every day gets closer :SS I am going this morn. to get me a new nightgown that button all the way down, so i can where it home from hospital. she said something comfortable and loose, to fit over shoulder. also need some new panties for hospital LOL.! I just want to get it overwith like everyone else on here who is having surgery. I will be thinking about you on the following Thurs. also. I will let you all know how it goes as soon as i can. i am generally a fast typer (word?) well anyway, pecking away with one hand will be different., among other things. My neck is really hurting me these past couple days, and my shoulder of coarse. My ROM is really bad. I hope he will be giving something other than vicodin. usually does not take help completely. I will talk to you all soon. take care LEO 8>
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