Rotator Cuff Repair and Rehab Rotator Cuff Repair and Rehab

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Thread: Rotator Cuff Repair and Rehab

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2014

    Default Rotator Cuff Repair and Rehab

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    I reported to the surgery center at 0600, surgery at 0730, recovery room at 1000, discharged to go home around 1130.

    Three of four RC tendons were torn – full thickness, large tears. I now have two anchors and a bunch of sutures that I will take to the grave. The sutures do not dissolve. Also, quite a bit of clean up, bone spurs and what not. My labrum was fine. I went in expecting the surgery to be done arthroscopically; but the damage was such that the Orthopod (hereafter “The Pod”) had to cut me open.

    I opted for the nerve block. It took about 24 hrs to wear off. Around 1000 the next morning I took my first pain meds – 2 Percoset. Surgery was on Wednesday and by Monday I weened myself from the Percoset. I have five remaining in the bottle. Anyone want them? Kidding. I’m KIDDING!!

    The Pod ordered a Continuous Passive Motion (CPM) machine (chair) for passive ROM work. I started using this thing…the afternoon of surgery. It looks like a medieval torture device, but is a chair with moving arms that abduct/adduct your arms. On day 1 the range was 20 to 80 degrees. Beginning the next day, I increased the upper limit five degrees per day until I reached 115 degrees, where it remained. I used this contraption for ten days, four to six hours total per day. I would do it for one hour blocks. If you have RC surgery, REQUEST THIS THING!!!

    For all intents and purposes, I have experienced no pain. That’s right; no pain. Tightness, a little achiness from time-to-time; but, no pain even in the CPM machine on the afternoon after surgery. Ok, yeah, I was still on the nerve block, so there’s that. But, I have been amazed at the lack of pain. I had heard nothing but horror stories about the pain, so, go figure. Either The Pod is a magician or he’s bullshitting me and did nothing but put a couple scars on my shoulder. Ha!

    Anyhoo, I slept in a recliner the first night; then moved to a bed wearing sling and supporting my arm with a pillow. In general, sleeping has been ok.

    I made myself breakfast the morning after surgery, carefully. It was not a real problem doing it mostly one-armed. Bacon, eggs, coffee.

    Two days later I removed the bandage, took my first shower, carefully, and covered the surgical site with waterproof bandaids.

    I had my first follow-up with The Pod today. As a result of my follow up: continue the CPM for the remainder of this week, begin PT next week, drive if I’m comfortable with driving, ok to ditch the sling in/around the house. Light chores ok, but wear sling in public for a couple more weeks so Bubba doesn’t come up to me and slap me on the shoulder.

    Also, The Pod said the tendons should attach in two to three months.

    This afternoon I went to the gym and did 5x10 of the “Rippetoe-broomstick-in-gymnast-rings” protocol. Feels good to get some flexion/extension work done, in addition to the abduction/adduction on the CPM.

    At 2.5 weeks, I’ll go back to work.

    My first appointment with a PT is next week. The Pod prescribed 2X/week, for 4 weeks. We’ll see.

    My next follow up with The Pod is in 4 weeks.

    I’ll report in again.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2012


    Looking forward to reports of your progress. Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2014


    Three weeks post surgery.

    Couple things I missed in my first post: I used the CPM machine 17 days, not 10. Also, I'm 66; so my Pod and I figured it best to get the surgery now while I'm...young.

    First visit to physical therapist today. As you would expect, nothing but a bunch of passive stretching exercises one of which was, for all intents and purposes, the same movement as Rip's broomstick-in-rings thing. And, the general plan is passive ROM stuff up to 12 weeks post-surgery, then, slowly, and with VERY light resistance, introduce some "strength" exercises. You know, bands, and such. Heck, maybe even a chrome dumbbell!

    He was totally blown away by the ROM that I have now. More so given my age and the fact that I have a scar on my deltoid, not just a couple ports. He said he sees about two scars a year, otherwise just ports. He attributes that to using the CPM. So do I, but also, thanks to Starting Strength, maybe being a little stronger than the usual 66yo geezer. That's my testimonial! Thanks, Rip!

    One thing that resonated, he stressed being careful about doing things requiring reaching out - elbows away from the body. Don't reach into the 'frig for a gallon of milk, yet! My biggest fear is re-tearing the surgical repair, so I'll go along with that. Otherwise, I'm back at work (sit at desk w/computer) and driving. Pretty much living my life.

    As things stand now, I'll probably begin light deads next week; light presses and lat pulldowns in another week. Perfect form! Elbows in! Check!

    I've been watching Rip's vid - three times so far - and studying Wolf's post-surgery log.

    I'll come back in a couple weeks.

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