Reverse Shoulder Replacement surgery was 8/2/21

Jimmer

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Had surgery august 2nd and things are getting better but I have lots of swelling in the arm. My doctor took stitches out august 17 and they did a ultra sound to look for blood clots. When they did that lots of old blood under the skin came out and there was so much they could not do the test correctly. Came home and wound is still draining a little but still have lots of swelling in arm. Is it normal to have swelling that long in the arm after surgery?
 

Jaycey

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@Jimmer Welcome to the other side again! Post op swelling is normal. Are you icing your shoulder?

Still very early days for you. I'm going to tag one of my colleagues who has been through shoulder surgery to come and chat with you. @djklaugh
 

djklaugh

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@Jimmer It is not unusual for shoulder to have swelling for quite a while after replacement surgery. Are you applying ice packs (or frozen gel packs) to your shoulder? Icing it can help reduce swelling.

Have you spoken to your surgeon since having the ultrasound? Specifically about the wound still draining? That concerns me -- if you have not talked to him I'd urge you to call and talk to surgeon or his assistant.

With each of my shoulder replacements I had swelling for over a month - each gradually decreased over time.
 
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Jimmer

Jimmer

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Yes I have been icing it 3-4 times a day, have lots of swelling below the elbow, plan on calling surgeon tomorrow, the draining is almost nothing now and hoping it heals up soon. My pain is not bad but having hard time sleeping. I know it takes a long time for recovery and looking forward to therapy.
 

SaraK

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Different people find different positions easier for sleeping. For me, a small pillow under the arm and a reclining sofa without an arm on the surgical side worked well for the first few weeks. As others said, swelling is normal and ice will help with that and is a great pain reliever as well.
 
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Jimmer

Jimmer

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I am one month into recovery and started therapy yesterday, they seemed pleased with the way the shoulder is coming along. I am sleeping in bed now and getting a good sleep and that seems to help a lot. They gave me some new exercises to do to start to get mobility and strength back. They also gave me compression sleeves for my arm to help with the swelling and it seems to be helping a lot. The pain is not bad at all and I am taking nothing for it. It will take time and I understand that but feel the worst is behind me.
 
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Jimmer

Jimmer

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Saw the surgeon for my 6 week checkup yesterday, he was concerned that I did not have much upward movement in my arm, I can not lift my arm above my shoulders and my deltoid muscle is very hard. He said keep going to therapy and it should get better. Pain is not bad and I keep doing my therapy at home. Just hope things get better.
 

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Everyone progresses differently. With a reverse shoulder replacement, you have to retrain muscles and ask them to learn new tricks. Keep with the therapy (interesting that they were pleased with movement but the surgeon wasn't) and give it some time. The swelling may also have slowed things down.

Make sure you communicate with your PT about the surgeon's visit. They may be able to suggest some things to loosen the "hard" deltoid. That's one of the primary muscles that needs to be retrained.

In the meantime, no pain and good sleep is something to celebrate!
 
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Jimmer

Jimmer

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Just over 10 weeks after surgery and things are going well. Pain is very good as only time I have pain is if I stretch to much. The swelling is much better and I am happy about that. Was hoping my range of motion would be better by now but is getting better slowly. Go to therapy 2 times a week and do my exercises 3 times a day. Doing lots of stuff with arm now and just have to be careful not to reach or lift to much and they told me no lawnmowers or snowblowers yet. At 12 weeks I start lifting small weights and start to strengthen the shoulder.
 

Jaycey

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@Jimmer thanks for the update. Sounds like you are doing really well! Yes, this is a long recovery. But done right you get back to living without all that pain.
 
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Jimmer

Jimmer

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Yesterday was my last day of therapy. All is going well and I will keep doing my stretching and strength exercises. Range of motion keeps getting better and it will keep improving for some time. I have no pain and I am happy with the results. Have not tried to swing a golf club or start a chainsaw yet but that will come in time. I see my doctor in february for 6 month checkup and thinking that will be my final one.
 

Jaycey

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Great update!
Have not tried to swing a golf club or start a chainsaw yet
Probably best to ask your surgeon about these activities before attempting. Do let us know how it goes!
 
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Jimmer

Jimmer

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Well I have been starting the chainsaw and cutting wood with no problems, I am very happy with the shoulder. Keep stretching every day and range of motion is very good. I knew it would not be as good as other shoulder as far as rom, but its alot better then I thought it would be.
 

Jaycey

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This is great news @Jimmer . Sounds like your shoulder isn't holding you back at all. Long may it continue!
 

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