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DraftyAiresMum 03-02-2012 01:32 AM

Shoulder surgery
Okay, so I messed up my shoulder moving 12-foot welded steel stall panels with my friend a couple of years ago. Sprained my AC (acromioclavicular) joint pretty good through the repetitive motion (moved around a dozen panels by lifting them onto my shoulders over my head, then walking them over a shoulder-high fence and dropping them over the other side), followed by tossing my friend's 45lbs western saddle onto my old gelding the very next day (hello, very loud and painful pop :shock:). I went to the doctor a couple of months later when it wouldn't stop hurting and got referred to an ortho. The ortho thought I may have torn my rotator cuff and ordered an MRI, but my stupid state health care at the time refused to authorize an MRI, so I said "To heck with it" and suffered.

Well, the pain and extremely limited range of motion have been effecting my job and my ability to do things (like saddle by horse). So, I decided to go back to the doctor and try to get something done about it. My regular doctor tried to refer me to physical therapy, but my insurance doesn't cover outpatient physical therapy (found that out AFTER my first session! :evil:). So, he referred me to an ortho again. This time, the ortho ordered an MRI and my new insurance (through work) approved it. On my follow-up visit after the MRI, I was told that the two bones of my AC joint (my clavicle and my acromion, which is part of the shoulder blade) had severe edema and were rubbing on each other, which was what was causing the majority of my pain. So, physical therapy was prescribed again, but this time my ortho's office wrote a letter to my insurance company explaining why they were prescribing the physical therapy and asking them to approve it so we wouldn't have to take the surgery option. Well, two calls from the physical therapy office, one call from me, and one letter from my ortho's office later, my insurance STILL refuses to approve outpatient physical therapy.

So, that brings us to my appointment this past Monday (the 27th). I saw a different physician's assistant than I had seen before. The new PA cut straight to the chase after explaining exactly what is going on in my shoulder and showing me on the diagrams they have on the wall of the exam room. Basically, not only are the bones of my AC joint constantly rubbing together, I also have a bone spur on the underside of my acromion that is pinching the main muscle of my rotator cuff. Neither of these problems are going to be helped any by physical therapy. In fact, physical therapy might make them worse. So, he strongly recommended I consider surgery to correct the issues. He said "If you were my wife/girlfriend/sister/cousin/aunt/grandma/mother/whatever, I would tell you straight out to have the surgery." After I said that yes, I considered surgery the best option as well (I kind of figured that would be the case when the first PA explained the AC joint issue to me), the ortho himself came in to discuss the surgery with me. He basically had the same recommendation as the PA.

So, they are going to be going in arthroscopically and shaving down the bone(s) in my AC joint to give it room to move (it clicks almost constantly, as well as shaving down as much of that bone spur under my acromion as possible (it's a thin bone to begin with, so they have to be careful). The ortho said he might also have to end up reattaching my bicep because it have fraying that isn't showing on the MRI (this based on how much pain I have in the front part of my shoulder). If he doesn't have to reattach my bicep, I have a 3-6 week full recovery with physical therapy. If he DOES have to reattach the bicep, I'm looking at 3-6 MONTHS with physical therapy. I have this sinking feeling (based on how much it hurts at the front of my shoulder just doing every day things) that he's going to get in there and find he has to reattach my bicep...which will suck big time.

Anyway, I'll be off work for a week (my surgery is March 29th). When the ortho found out I was a cashier, he said he was willing to let me go back to work within a week because I don't *have* to use both hands as a cashier (and my coworkers are all awesome about my shoulder and limitations anyway). So anyway, here's hoping I can still at least groom and lunge my boy and that he won't act up too much while I'm healing.

Has anyone had this kind of surgery (on their shoulder...I've had arthroscopic on my knee to repair a torn meniscus, but that was a whole different ball game)? If so, how was your recovery? Were you able to get back to doing things relatively quickly? Any advice?

DraftyAiresMum 03-02-2012 01:46 AM

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