FAILED - total shoulder replacement - BEWARE

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Topic Title: FAILED - total shoulder replacement - BEWARE
Created On: 06/07/2012 07:47 AM

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 09/11/2013 10:00 AM

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manuel4md

Posts: 27

Good Day! Surgery sometimes goes amiss and patients end up having the same or worse pain than before the surgery. OS usually and should mention that to patients when asking for the surgical consent. Stem cell therapy can have better outcomes without the risk of surgery. Stem cell therapy is currently being used for a variety of orthopedic problems.
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 09/04/2013 03:34 PM

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Southernstar

Posts: 5

I certainly hope that after everything you have been thru that you are on your way to a good recovery now.
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 05/22/2013 05:56 PM

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BruceA

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Wow, I'm glad I finally found someplace where actual patients can discuss their shoulder problems and surgeries.I had a shoulder arthroplasty last December after a bad fall blew the top of the right humerus apart and compressed the entire shoulder area. Seemed to be making (slow) progress in recovery for the first several months afterward, but in late March began having increasing (and worsening) reoccurrence of pain.My orthopedic surgeon at Mayo (not the doctor who did the December surgery; I was sent to the closest hospital with a trauma unit, and the surgery was done by one of the hospital's doctors; my Mayo doctor did left shoulder rotator cuff surgery several years ago, and I wish now I'd told the EMTs to take me to Mayo even if it was further away) advised me the main problem seems to be a malpositioned tuberosity (effectively equivalent to a major rotator cuff tear).He recommends a reverse shoulder arthroplasty, but with caveats: I'm 60, young for an RSA; the implant may wear out or develop problems within a decade. OTOH, with my family's terrible cardiac history, I'm unlikely to make 70. (My brothers and I are the first males in our family line in almost a century to NOT die of heart attacks before the age of 60, so I'm already beating those odds.) He also advised that even if there are no problems with the RSA I won't recover full function of the arm, and of the possibility of the RSA developing it's own problems or failure. Second choice recommendation is to learn to live with chronic pain and limited use of the arm.That decision is complicated by my beng the primary caregiver for my wife, who's completely disabled after 45 years of rheumatoid arthritis. We have a housemate who's acted as caregiver for my wife whenever I've been at work, and if we hadn't had her to take up the slack after my accident, we'd have been totally screwed. But it would be unfair to expect her to become the primary caregiver if I don't recover enough function in my arm.Also don't know if I'll ever be able to return to work.So I'm trying to decide whether to go with the RSA surgery, or whether seeing a pain-management specialist and trying to live with the current status until the arm becomes completely unbearable would be the best course. Priorities are: 1) pain control; 2) strength and stamina; 3) range of motion.I'm leaning towards the surgery, but haven't made a final decision yet.This is the first time in my life that I've had a major injury, chronic pain, or physical limitations, so it's an emotional rollercoaster too.
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 04/16/2013 04:56 PM

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jo_w

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First post on a forum! I have had 3 surgeries on my right shoulder-TSR, Revision, Dislocation. I went in with an intact subscap, 3 surgeries later I have no subscap or supraspinatus. I can feel the humeral head moving around. I have virtually no ROM. I have been advised that I can either wait, or get a reverse replacement. I am very depressed, in my mid 50's, was so active.In the midst of all of this, I had a TSR on my left shoulder, thankfully my results thus far are amazing! 5 months out. I had no choice, the pain was excruciating. Night and day between this one and my right shoulder. My surgeon - for the left one was Dr. Flatow. I trust him implicitly to do the reverse. I am curious, I would truly appreciate hearing the results others have had with a reverse...I know there are risks, but I don't see why I should be resigned to living with no ROM when there is another possibility, albeit not ideal. I would like to beat those odds! Gun shy, 4 surgeries later, hard to fathom. Thank You
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 10/23/2012 12:58 PM

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tfalk

Posts: 11

Reading stories like these are exactly why it took me almost 4 years to finally say I'd had enough of the pain and resort to the TSR surgery. I'm damn lucky in that I don't have any of the problems that a lot of others seem to be having. I'm almost 11 months post op, very minor pain in the deltoid or top of the bicep at this point. I occasionally have some minor pain in the front of the shoulder where they made the incision. I can raise my arm completely over my head where before the surgery, I could barely get to 90 degrees. I'm also of the opinion that one of the reasons I'm having a better post op experience is the sheer size of the prosthesis - the doc said mine was the largest one he ever had to implant... Big buildings have big foundations, I guess...


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 10/20/2012 11:11 PM

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Charleysmom

Posts: 2

Hi all. I don't usually participate in forums, but I really need the advice of people who have faced my dilemma. I am a 49 year old woman who has had lupus & RA for 30 years. I've had both knees replaced, 3 hip replacements, and about 13 months ago, had a shoulder replacement (not a reverse replacement). I had a torn rotator cuff and a torn bicep tendon before surgery. This has been the most frustrating recovery of any surgery I've had. After 13 months of PT, I still can't lift my arm more that about 65 degrees. I am very petite and have small bones and osteoporosis. When I lift my arm, it's like it catches on something, and once I get past the catch, I can lift it all the way (when lying down, not standing up). I think my surgeon thinks the prosthesis may have been too large. I'm going for a CT scan on Monday and considering a revision. What is the success rate of this, is it worth going through another year like the last, or is lifting my arm highly overrated?
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 06/10/2012 08:04 PM

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geo

Posts: 6

every case is different. you definitely needed the surgery more than me. i took it way too casually. you were seriously broken up. RISK/REWARD. we need to weigh that in our minds carefully. i thought there was too much along the lines of sales pitches by the docs on their web sites. that's why i wanted to tell my story. there is a risk. this shoulder surgery isn't all that simple.
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 06/10/2012 10:43 AM

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homeplate

Posts: 35

Wow. I am about three months from a total reverse shoulder and have been sharing my experiences on another thread. I feel that this input from patients is invaluable to others who might be considering a shoulder replacement surgery. What you went through is amazing. I guess it's the old addage that if something can go wrong, it will. I am amazed at how many individuals there are that take signing up for a huge surgery as a "right" not necessarily a necessity. I waited until I was in a wheelchair to sign up for spinal surgery, and when my right shoulder was useless to me and very painful, I resigned to sign up. But I hope that you are able to go forward and recuperate from your "non" surgery. How very scary for you. It's hard to be one of those 2% if that's the complication rate.
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 06/08/2012 05:27 PM

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geo

Posts: 6

OK. my wife who is a Brigham trained RN had warned me all along about the possibility of complications from infection. and she told me that if you can live with it, do that. because infections, like you describe, are a common occurance. my dentist had already given me amoxicillan Rx's because i would have to take those pills before a teeth cleaning due to being just generally more susceptable to infection. now that you have an artificical shoulder you need to be advised of this additional risk. but i assume that your doctors at MGH know what you should be doing.
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 06/08/2012 04:55 PM

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geo

Posts: 6

got to admit your situation sounds like it was a lot worse than mine and so i'm glad you're feeling so much better. mine was simple degenerative arthritis. what i learned - in my case - was that if you can live with the discomfort, and i definitely could, don't expect surgery to make your life sweet as honey. and your experience seconds that.
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 06/08/2012 02:10 PM

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geo

Posts: 6

Wow, your story is amazing. thanks for sharing. 5 surgeries to get it fixed? amazing.
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 06/08/2012 02:07 PM

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misty3

Posts: 132

Wow, geo - interesting. I just had a total shoulder replacement at MGH and had a great experience. It was a revision of a humeral head resurfacing that had failed after a couple months. I had 4 previous surgeries at two other major medical centers - there can be problems anywhere and that is scary. My treatment at the first place was horrific (except for the one surgeon who actually did the first 2 surgeries). I am "only" in my 50's and suffered quite a bit, but this is the first time I've been feeling decent in 3 years. Hope things continue to improve for you.
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 06/07/2012 07:19 PM

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geo

Posts: 6

Thanks for your good thoughts. I'm sure some, maybe many, get benefit from these surgeries. It's just that the surgeons minimize the potential danger. i was told that there was a 98% success rate. later, after the surgery and when we queried further, i'm of the opinion that the 98% was just good marketing. Since others don't talk much about the dangers, i felt it important to say - watch out, this is SERIOUS surgery. and my experience almost killed me.
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 06/07/2012 07:03 PM

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Lyn

Posts: 5

Geo, I am so sorry to hear of your horrible experience! I hope your shoulder will continue to improve.

I am bone-on-bone with my left shoulder and was told I need to have it replaced. It is painful now and I can't lie down to sleep due to he pain. The thought of the surgery terrifies me and am not sure what I am going to do ultimately. I've just started reading about other's experiences and it sure doesn't sound very good at all.

Good luck to you!
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 06/07/2012 07:47 AM

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geo

Posts: 6

I am a very healthy male, 70 years of age. In January, 2012 I entered the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) for a total shoulder replacement - right side. The surgery failed with some terrible consequences. Read on for more detail. In case you're not familiar with MGH, it's consistently rated as one of the top three hospitals in the US, along with the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopskins. I was operated on by the Chief of the shoulder department. The last thing I remembered before going under was looking at the clock on the wall and seeing 10am. The next thing that I remember is waking up seeing a clock on the wall saying 6pm and smiling at my family, thinking how happy I was that it was over. I had a big smile on my face as I started to chat with my wife about the sling holding my right arm. She then told me "They didn't do the operation!". I didn't understand because my right shoulder was totally bandaged and in an after surgery sling. And I was doing the mental arithmetic which told me I had been under for 8 hours. I quickly descended into a severe pneumonia and over the next 8 days in the hospital I was able to piece together what had happened. After I had been put under the surgical team began. After they had cut away and pushed aside the muscles to gain access to the shoulder joint, the team had lifted my arm straight up over my head - a position that it hadn't been in for 30 years, because of severe arthritis. Almost immediately I began to bleed out from torn arteries. A vascular surgeon was summoned to the OR and after he had tied up the torn arteries, the team decided to discontinue the process and button me up. During the operation the trauma and loss of blood caused my BP to drop to 70/40 and my kidneys began to fail. Cleaning all this up and stabilizing me took several hours.

My conclusion is that the surgeons were careless in not checking for any blood vessels that could be connected to the arm bone. I am posting this information to warn those of you considering this type of surgery that it can be very dangerous, even to the point of being life threatening. If I had to do it all over again, I would forgo the surgery and work with a physical therapist to safely recover what I could without surgery. It is now 5 months since the failed surgery and working with PT has brought the capability of my right shoulder back to about 60% of what it was before.
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