Shoulder replacement decision, looking for advice

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New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/3/2011 9:09 PM (GMT -6)   
Good evening from Maine. I am new to this but it appears to be a good support forum. So with that being said....I'd like some opinions on Shoulder Replacement Surgery.

1990 - Thrown from a horse, dislocated my right shoulder, damaged my rotator cuff.
1996 - Right shoulder surgery to fix the damage from 1990.
2005 - Slipped and fell and during the fall, I grabbed a railing with my right hand.
My body went down but not without dislocating my shoulder yet again.
2007 - Right shoulder surgery again...fixing:
Rotator cuff, bone spurs, fluid removal

Ever since the surgery in 2007, my shoulder hasn't been right. I still feel the surgeon didn't do his job properly. Last year I dislocated my shoulder again and put it back myself. This year I've noticed the pain has been increasing more and more and the use of my arm is less and less despite the PT I do at home to try and strengthen my shoulder.

Just over a week ago I met with a surgeon, he did some X-Rays. Stated that the first thing he saw was a chunk of bone broken off, just sitting there. I thought he said a chip but he corrected me and said it's s decent size chunk....okay.....but he wanted a clearer picture of what was going on so he sent me right in for an MRI.

Yesterday (September 2, 2011) I had my follow up appointment with him to go over the MRI results.
He said that in addition to the broken bone, I do have some fluid, it's bone to bone, severe arthritis and slight cuff damage. He said the only option I have is a total shoulder replacement. He doesn't do that specific surgery but another Dr in his office specializes in shoulder, hip and knee replacements only.

He did recommend trying a cortisone shot while I take some time to think about it. Also, to follow guidelines of the insurance company, I have to go to their physical therapy center for 3 visits for evaluations. I hesitated about the cortisone (petrified of needles) but since I was there, I agreed. When he felt around to mark the spot for the injection he was pressing fairly a matter of fact, my shoulder started dislocating while he was doing that. So we stabilized my arm and he did the injection. OMG - horror! Actually, I was in worse pain after than I have been in in a long time. I'm still in pain. My regular Dr called me in some pain medicine to help. It helps some-what but when that wears off, I know it.

Last night I picked up my scripts...was speaking with the pharmacist (whom I've known for years), told him what was going on. He had a similar issue a few years ago with his hip. His Dr told him....(and this is a great point for me to remember). Even though this may only last 10-20 will improve the quality of your life now. In my case, I'm 38 years old....they say I'm a little young to do this I sit and suffer for another 10 years before doing it? I think improving my quality now makes more sense. I mean we all know how fast technology is growing, who knows what they will be able to do in 10-20 years if/when I need another procedure...right?

Anyone on here that has had or knows someone who has had a replacement?

How did you make your decision....
Do you regret your decision...

Recovery time....

What should I ask the specialist when I meet with him....

I would appreciate any and all feedback......I'm extremely nervous and unsure.

Thank you in advance for your help -

Lisa from Maine
Lisa from Maine

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 16779
   Posted 9/4/2011 2:32 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lisa and welcome to healing well's chronic pain forum. I am glad that you found us but so sorry that you have to be here.

From looking at your history with that shoulder you really have had major problems for quite awhile. I heard a long time ago, that shoulder problems are one of the worst. I never thought anything about it until I fell off of our motorcycle and injured my right shoulder. After that I tend to believe what I heard. I had nerve impingement as a result of that fall and built up a lot of scar tissue. I really cannot imagine what all you have gone through from reading your list.

You are so right about the injection, been there & done that. When he first stuck the needle in the top of my shoulder he hit a bunch of scar tissue I nearly came off the table, I was trying to pull away from him and the whole time I am telling him I was done and to stop. He said I am almost done, I said no you are done and so am I. Never again would I go through that. Of course you are not given anything to numb it either. I felt exactly like you did afterwards and mine did me no good. Since then I have had lots of different injections but nothing can hold a candle to that one.

You certainly have a big decision to make and I am so sorry you are having to make this particular one. But, I do agree with the quality life issues as well. If this were me , I would be finding perhaps two more drs that specializes in shoulders only and go for a second and maybe even a third opinion. With a surgery like this, I would want some more opinions and I would not be using any drs affiliated with the drs office you are being seen at either. But this is me, this is what I would do.

While I do know a lot people that have had shoulder surgery, I do not know anyone that has done the replacement surgery. If you let the dr in that office do your surgery, I would request to possibly speak with one of the patients that has had shoulder replacement done by that dr. Many times a patient can ask to speak to someone like this, its a matter of the dr agreeing to it and finding a patient willing to talk to you.

Anyway, I wanted to welcome you aboard. Take care and keep us posted on how you are doing.
Moderator Chronic Pain Forum

Regular Member

Date Joined Feb 2008
Total Posts : 255
   Posted 9/4/2011 3:01 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Lisa, I had my right shoulder replaced in 2008 at age 41 due to osteo necrosis (bone death)the head of the bone collapsed leaving me with lots of pain and very limited mobility. I had the surgery and stayed in the hospital for 3 day's
and within 36hrs I was moving my arm with great mobility, the pain was not horrible and within a week I couldn't believe the difference.Now on Sept 8 I am having my left hip replaced due to the same disease.  I've had many surgeries before and the shoulder was really not that bad. The first 2 day's were the worst but bearable due to the medication and after that is was amazing how fast I recovered.. Good Luck Randy
AVASCULAR-NECROSIS (AVN) in 6 joints. HIPS,KNEE'S and SHOULDERS-Replaced 1 shoulder. replacing left hip 9/8/11 then left shoulder.
Bilateral Empyema with Thoracotomy with Decordication.(Removed the Lining of left lung)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 2042
   Posted 9/4/2011 11:46 AM (GMT -6)   
Hopefully today finds you feeling a bit better.

It is fairly common after those cortisone shots to be in a lot more pain for the first 24-72 hours. By the 3rd day though things usually calm and you will start being able to tell if the shot is going to provide any pain relief.

I have never had any joint replacement done but I do have some relatives that have and the one things I came away with is to make sure you have a surgeon who truly knows what s/he is doing and also when it is time for physical therapy to make sure the therapist is well versed.

My great aunt had a knee done years ago and her surgery went very well, but the first therapist she had was an idiot. He put her on this machine to work the new knee and he did it wrong. (Just put it on a 1/2 inch too high) and it caused her a lot of pain which he ignored saying it was "normal". After 2 minutes she couldn't handle it and when he refused to shut it off she started throwing things at him, including her phone. He finally unhooked her and left. The next day she had a different PT show up and when she got hooked up to the machine she had no pain at all and was able to go 30 minutes. The new PT told her that there should not have been any pain. Some discomfort, but no real pain and when it was all said and done that hospital had an opening for a new PT. The day after her good session my aunt was up and walking with a walker and 2 days after that she walked out of the hospital using only a cane.

She needs to have the other knee done, but that idiot PT traumatized her so bad she is afraid. She doesn't regret having the surgery and admits she gets around better and doesn't have any pain on that side anymore, but she is so afraid of getting another idiot PT and having that kind of pain again she refuses.
2 confirmed herniated lumbar discs. Spinal Arthritis. Spinal Stenosis, diabetic peripheral nueropathy.

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/5/2011 12:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Thank you for responding! VERY VERY helpful!!! Great idea about speaking with a patient that has already had it done. Will have to give them a call sometime this week…they are really nice in there, I can’t imagine there aren’t any patients willing to speak with potential candidates…we’ll see ~

Thanks Randy ~ that’s encouraging ~

Thanks Jim, still experiencing discomfort from what I believe is the injection plus my typical shoulder pain. Pain medicine does okay…gets me through. It did help through the worst of it.

From what I understand, the place I’m going is one of the best in my state. A good friend of mine had her shoulder surgery to fix hers and had amazing results and the physical therapy centers (they have 3) are wonderful!! Can’t wait to check them out.

The surgeon that did my surgery in 2007 did (in my opinion) a lousy job and the PT after was not appropriate. But I’m not a Dr….I just go to a lot of Dr’s LOL.

Thanks again everyone :-)

38 Year Old Female from Maine

Cervical Disc Disease
Severe Daily Migraines
Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure Issues
2 Previous right shoulder surgeries…pending shoulder replacement (Sept 2011)
Full Hysterectomy
PID that caused my Appendix to Rupture
2 Breast Reductions

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2011
Total Posts : 11
   Posted 9/12/2011 11:09 AM (GMT -6)   
Well, I've decided to meet with the surgeon that does the replacements. Have given this a lot of thought.
I think this is something I want to do...I want to improve the quality of my life now...not 10 years from now. I'm nervous as hell but I think it's probably what's best.

I think what was the final decision breaker was this weekend when just laying in bed, I reached out with my arm only to feel it starting to dislocate again....I can't keep having that. I'm tired of being restricted...

I meet with the physical therapist tomorrow for an evaluation....standard procedure, mostly for the insurance company.

Thank you for listening....will keep you posted.....

Hope everyone has a great Monday -
38 Year Old Female from Maine

Cervical Disc Disease | Chronic Daily Migraines | Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure Issues | 2 Previous right shoulder surgeries…pending shoulder replacement (Sept 2011) | Full Hysterectomy | PID that caused my Appendix to Rupture |2 Breast Reductions | IBS | GERD | Depression

Quit smoking 12/31/09 ;-)
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