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SLAP repair surgery - Who has had it?


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Has anyone on here been through a shoulder SLAP repair surgery? If so, I'd like to hear your experiences. Just got my shoulder MRI results back and it looks like I'm going to need to have this procedure. I will be seeing my ortho again n the 11th to discuss, and I'm trying to get some idea of the recovery and how debilitating the surgery really is so that I can plan when I will have it, if the recommendation is not to do physical therapy first.

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I had recurrent dislocations in both shoulders and had surgeries to correct the instability a few years apart.  My right shoulder has been operated on 3 times over 40 years to re-attach  torn labrums.

I've had it done as part of a larger shoulder rebuild. I've actually had to have a ton of orthopedic surgeries in my life for skiing and football injuries, so feel pretty comfortable saying I've got a good perspective - two knee scopes/meniscotomy, shoulder rebuild, total hip, total knee! Anyway, in my experience in terms of total misery from surgery through full recovery, worst to best, it went shoulder>total knee>total hip>minor knee scope. And of course in terms of acute pain, none of them are even in the same zip code as the pain of an actual shoulder dislocation, which it sounds like you've been through if you have a torn labrum. If all the dislocations were 10s on the pain scale for me, the absolute WORST days post-surgery for any of the stuff I've gone through never went beyond an 8, and the gulf between that and the dislocations is enormous.

 

With that said, shoulder surgery isn't the easiest thing to recover from and it will continue to hurt, sometimes just out of the blue, for months after. In my recollection three months after surgery I'd still have bad days, but by about 6 months it wasn't impacting me in any real way. You'll get through the worst of it faster than you think, just follow the advice of the surgeon and your PT to the absolute letter. That's really the key.

 

That said, with any joint repair I have to say you go from having a damaged joint that needs surgery to having a damage joint that's had it, if that makes sense. It's not like you come out of it with the shoulder you had in high school. The key is be honest with yourself about when your day-to-day activities are so limited by the original injury that it's worth committing to the surgery. The longer you can hold off the better IMO!

[size=2][i]"I see the distorted swings, the hurried rounds, and now the electric carts tae ruin the course and rob us of our exercise...we have gone off the mark, gone after the wrong things, forgotten what it's all about"[/i][/size]

[size=2]-Dr. Julian Sands, Golf in the Kingdom[/size]

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I had it done on my right shoulder 10 years ago. My shoulder had really severe impingement syndrome so some bone had to be removed from a couple spots. The labral repair caused me the most discomfort and took a bit longer to recover from. I was fortunate to recover ahead of the schedule my doctor had suggested. He had me able to chip and putt a month after the procedure. I was able to make a slower than normal full swing with little discomfort after about 8 weeks. He suggested that this was a little faster than usual and I would attribute that to a good surgeon and physical therapist. I can't say how severe mine was compared to yours, but, the more severe the damage, the longer the recovery. Good luck to you.

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I just had surgery in May for a torn labrum -- not a SLAP, according to the surgeon, but a posterior tear.

 

My progression went like this (starting in jan/feb):

  • Saw doctor #1, who took an x-ray, and gave me a sheet with a few exercises to try plus a 30-day prescription for a super-duty anti-inflammatory. Prescription seemed over the top so I went to get a second opinion
  • Saw doctor #2, who I later found out was considered the best shoulder guy in my area. Prescribed therapy first.
  • 6 weeks of PT, at which point the therapist told me that if just therapy was going to work, we would probably have made a lot more progress by that point
  • Follow-up with ortho doctor, followed by a contrast MRI that showed the labral tear
  • Surgery in early May
  • 6 weeks in a sling
  • Therapy from that point on, until I ran out of insurance-covered therapy sessions in October
  • Full release from the surgeon at 6 months, and now I'm just continuing to slowly build resistance using the same PT exercises

 

So I'm 7 months out now, shoulder feels great most of the time. Still don't have 100% of the rotational movement back (especially reaching behind me and up my back). Still aches if I sleep on it, and I try to ease into any new activity. Probably wait until springtime before I try to hit any golf balls again since it's winter anyway.

 

If you have the surgery, I would recommend the following:

  • Do some extra research into doctors in your area and try to make sure you have someone with a good reputation for this kind of surgery. The doctor who ended up doing mine said that there are quite a few doctors who don't like doing this surgery because they think the results are inconsistent. When I asked him, "Then why are you recommending the surgery?", his response was, "Because I get good results." Not lacking for any confidence, that's for sure. But it's earned -- he has a great reputation for doing all manner of shoulder surgeries.
  • PAIN PUMP!!!! If they offer it, take it. If they don't, then ask them about it. They basically put a catheter into your shoulder and hang a plastic ball of anesthetic around your neck. Keeps you numb from your shoulder to your fingertips for three days following surgery, at which point they remove it. Lots of people said that shoulder surgery recovery is a bear immediately post-op, but this gets you over the hump.
  • Lots of ice for the swelling and pain. I had my percocets in hand as soon as that pain pump came out, but I never took a single one. Maybe in those first few days I would have needed them if I didn't have the pain pump, but after that point I never had more than a really strong aching (it was persistent, but manageable). Stuck with ice and as little tylenol as I could manage (usually 2 in the morning, 2 before bed, and occasionally 1 or 2 more during the day if it got really uncomfortable).
  • Follow the therapist's plan to the letter. Until I had this surgery, I never realized how many different muscles are connected through and around this joint. You reach or twist or stretch the wrong way and you can put a lot of stress on that newly-reattached labrum. Not to mention the fact that after a long immobilization, the muscle atrophy makes the entire joint very unstable.
  • Expect setbacks along the way. Not in terms of re-injuring the shoulder (unless you do something stupid), but in terms of losing some of the progress you make. One day they'll work on a muscle or tendon that is really causing a lot of problems, and they'll get your shoulder moving and feeling almost like there's no problem. But then 2 days later or a week later, you'll have a session where it seems to be all locked up again. Going back to that comment about all the different muscles involved -- if you release the tension on one side, more than likely you've given an opposing muscle group the chance to tense up / lock up. So just stick with it and keep doing all the stretches/exercises they give you in between the PT sessions, and you'll see gradual progress.

Hope this helps you out some -- the first 3-4 months post-op can get discouraging at times, but looking back now I'm definitely glad I had the surgery.

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TLDR: Work hard on the physical therapy flexibility and exercises with great form. You will feel like the joint doesn't want to move as easily as before probably for a while. Don't do anything stupid if you want it to heal faster. Range-of-motion will determine how it feels after the initial pain from being cut into subsides so remember to stretch how they tell you.

 

 

 

I had a posterior SLAP tear in 2006 while I was playing college baseball. It took several cortisone shots and MRI's before they agreed to go inside and figure out why I lost so much strength on my throws. They discovered that about 40% was torn among other issues.

 

In the 6-hour surgery they had to anchor (6 or 8 of them) the labrum back to the bone. They also cut out a large amount of tissue that was in the general area, shaved down the bone and worked on the biceps tendon.

 

Pain was really a whatever for me unless it was the stretching portion of rehab. Regaining range of motion was very difficult and took a long time.

 

It is in my left shoulder (I'm left-handed) and I golf right handed. I haven't really had many complications that were golf-related but I also didn't really swing for a year after the injury.

 

Being religious with your rehab exercises and stretching will make you feel better. Skipping any of them or doing things you're not supposed to will make the rehab last longer. Stretching while you're just sitting around will make the range-of-motion rehab go faster provided you are taking care of the joint and not inflaming it by doing things you're not supposed to be doing.

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I had a type 3 injury in 2001, repaired in 2002. At that time, I carried my arm in a sling for five weeks to allow a limited blood flow cartilage to heal. That may not be the recommended protocol today. After the sling, my right arm was extremely weak and it took about 3-4 months to be reasonably useful. I went to a top flight PT, followed the regimen exactly, and after 6 months was back to full strength. During rehab, I had a machine that pumped ice water over the joint, which greatly helped with the soreness post-exercise. I have lost some range of motion, as mentioned above, but I'm now 67 and other parts of my body don't work the same as they did 15 years ago. This is a totally recoverable injury, it will require patience and work. The most painful part of the whole ordeal was accidentally bumping my arm while in the sling. That caused uncontrolled micturation.

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Thanks for the input, guys. I know it's not a quick recovery or easy process. Biggest problem for me right now is I can't sleep through the night because of the pain. Thinking I want to bite the bullet and just get it done. We'll see what the ortho has to say next Monday.

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Thanks for the input, guys. I know it's not a quick recovery or easy process. Biggest problem for me right now is I can't sleep through the night because of the pain. Thinking I want to bite the bullet and just get it done. We'll see what the ortho has to say next Monday.

 

That's a biggie...if you're not able to sleep and therapy isn't helping, it's probably time to get it done. I've found that constant poor sleep just destroys your body, and sooner than one would think.

[size=2][i]"I see the distorted swings, the hurried rounds, and now the electric carts tae ruin the course and rob us of our exercise...we have gone off the mark, gone after the wrong things, forgotten what it's all about"[/i][/size]

[size=2]-Dr. Julian Sands, Golf in the Kingdom[/size]

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I had SLAP tear surgery on right shoulder. Recovery to golf was about 3-4 months. Largely it helped. I was getting a popping sound and feel in my right shoulder in the follow through before the surgery, which did not hurt too much but was discomforting. I started changing my follow-through to try to avoid the uncomfortable feeling. This went away post surgery. Still get some minor popping and low key pain post-surgery (3 years) in normal life, but, rarely have issue with the shoulder playing golf. Do the rehab religiously and you will be back on the links in good time. Good luck!

 
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  • 4 weeks later...

Had my right shoulder done 11/17/17. My history:

Started feeling a twinge a few years ago when I would throw a ball. Kept getting worse the more rec softball I would play. Quit softball and it still hurt so I decided to have it looked at.

First was the cortisone shot, nothing. Next up was 6 weeks of rehab, nothing. Next step was an arthrogram MRI but never scheduled it as life got busy and we moved from St. Louis to Nashville. I dealt with it for about a year and a half then it really started to bother me when I slept.

 

In September 2017 I went to a different Ortho who suggested an MRI which only showed some bone spurs and fluid. He leaned towards surgery since none of the previous treatments worked and sometimes the MRI can be misleading. Misleading was right..I had a pretty good sized tear (needed 4 anchors) and a bicep tenodesis.

 

I just hit my 6 week post op so I was just released from my sling. I honestly can't imagine picking up a club for atleast a couple more months. Before the surgery, I was told 5-6 months before being able to fully swing a club and I think that's a realistic timeframe at this point. All I can say at this point is stay in the sling as long as they tell you to, follow your surgeon and therapists instructions and ice is your friend. Don't hesitate to PM me if there's something I can help with.

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I’m getting my rotator and bicep tear done tomorrow .Nervous,but hoping to be able to play by May/June.My first shoulder surgery & not sure what to expect(timeline).Thanks guys for for the advice.

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I’ve been through two repairs on my right shoulder and the PT is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Still, I would do it again as living with a non-functioning shoulder and the constant pain is not an option. BTW - Both of my pre-surgical MRIs did not indicate a problem. Only during surgery did they find all the damage. Best of luck to anyone having shoulder surgery!

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I had one and ended up just doing PT, it doesn't hurt me any longer and I continue to work on it. All the stories of how brutal the surgery and recovery are scared me off. Best of luck

I'm right there with you, I've managed the pain and keep working hard to maintain flexibility. I actually have two bad shoulders from years of sports. I broke down and got a shot in one of them and it did a fantastic job with the ache. I really should shoot up the other one soon as well. I'm trying to hard to avoid the knife but I'm sure at some point I won't have a choice. BB

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So I had a SLAP tear, and after a scope (surgery 08/17) ended up being a almost a full around torn of my labrum, with extensive inflammation and bursitiis. I also broke my collarbone and partial tore my rotator cuff.

 

I am in my 6 month of recovery right now, and just had a cortisone shot to assist in my recovery.

 

I had a different surgery, my surgeon is the Patriots head team doctor, and head shoulder Dr at Mass General (debate-ably one of the best hospital in the world)....my wife works at the hospital, he is the only shoulder guy to see if you are doing your homework, who to see.

 

Dr. told me they don't really fix SLAP tears (within last 5 years....like they use to, lose too much range of motion, not enough blood supply to properly fix) anymore, they have better results with PT. But if PT is not working out, there is a surgical option for a surgery called a bicep tenodesis....still relatively new, but long and short of it, they remove your biceps tendon off your shoulder, an inch or so, to take off pressure of it pulling your shoulder into labrum causing pain. PT didnt work for me, I had the surgery. Im young (er) 38, and I have a very strenuous and active occupation, which he was treating me basically like one of his players. This surgery is still kind of taboo in the sports world, as far as baseball pitchers, they dont have good results yet of them coming back to 100%, but other position players, are doing well, and hitting wasnt too far off. Curt Schilling had it done at the end of his career....but has been quoted he wished he had it done sooner, and would of been able to make a full and competitive recovery to pitch.

 

Now golf. I am a weekend warrior, high handicap....but passionate about golf. I was able to swing 3/4 and essentially play by 4 months. I was still in pain, and I am still having pain today. Most of the pain is with weight, and above shoulder height, and reaching behind my back....still today. But i could play recreationally, after 4 months.

 

The surgery sucks, the recovery sucks. Hit PT as best you can. I am having a hard time strengthening my shoulders now, to get my strength back and mobility back. I lost some power off the tee, but made me more conscious of not trying to kill the ball.

 

Avoid surgery if you can, get the right surgeon. They will always, and should always send you to PT initially...you have to do it right.........i have overcompensated with other muscles for so long, its been a long road.

 

 

Any questions feel free to PM me.

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Had mine done in 2012. My surgeon also performed a Mumford procedure (distal clavicle excision) to give the joint a little more room to accommodate inflammation. I was religious about my PT and following Dr.'s orders, was putting and chipping after 9 weeks and played my first round after 12 weeks.

 

I'm right handed and this was my right (trail) shoulder. I'd imagine the lead shoulder might take a bit longer to get back to golf.

 

Since the surgery I've had zero problems with my right shoulder but unfortunately my left has been problematic and feels similar to the right pre-surgery. I'm guessing another procedure is in my near future but will probably start with a cortisone injection.

 

Sidenote brag ?: I shot 69 and had a hole-in-one in my last round prior to the surgery, and shot 71 my first round back after, so once I was cleared it didn't take any time to get back to good golf.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

I am new to the forum. I have an 18 yr old junior golfer and last year he was diagnosed with a SLAP tear. They did an MRI and it was diagnosed that way. The treatament from the doctor was to do PT and 3 months later, he was cleared to start playing golf again. Everything was going great until one week ago, he warmed up and hit some balls at the range and then went to play and at the 1st hole tee shot with the driver, he felt he pain again (but with less intensity than first time). Dr recommended antinflamatories, ice and pain medication. Does anybody know if this is normal for this to happen during the recovery period? We have the dr's appointment on monday but not knowing from anybody's experience that we know has us and my son a little upset. Thanks.

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I had a couple big tears in my labrum, played in pain for too long and finally got the surgery. Ortho surgeon called it a slap tear and said it will not heal itself as not enough blood supply up there. Easy peasy out patient surgery but the post surgery is rough. In sling about six weeks, Immediately started light physical therapy with shoulder specialist which lasted a couple months. Very painful initially but do the therapy and do it right. Be patient let it heal. I continued my own physical therapy for a few more months. Didn't think about golf the first six months. Started light chipping and half swings after about six months and played soon after that and it was wonderful. I had forgotten what it was like to play pain free it had been so long. No pain after play or the next day, That was 7 years ago, shoulder still hanging in there.

Once in awhile it gets sore but only when I over do it. My lower backs acting up now but eh, cant win em all !

To me, looking back, the physical therapy is what makes all the difference.

Good Luck.

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I had my surgery 7 weeks ago & go to PT 3 times a week.I hope it’s not 6 months before being able to play...They gave me a Trex machine to use at home & hopefully the combination will speed up the recovery.

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I am new to the forum. I have an 18 yr old junior golfer and last year he was diagnosed with a SLAP tear. They did an MRI and it was diagnosed that way. The treatament from the doctor was to do PT and 3 months later, he was cleared to start playing golf again. Everything was going great until one week ago, he warmed up and hit some balls at the range and then went to play and at the 1st hole tee shot with the driver, he felt he pain again (but with less intensity than first time). Dr recommended antinflamatories, ice and pain medication. Does anybody know if this is normal for this to happen during the recovery period? We have the dr's appointment on monday but not knowing from anybody's experience that we know has us and my son a little upset. Thanks.

I don’t think that’s enough time. I have a SLAP tear that I’m not having surgery on and it took 6 months before I could swing without pain. Mines on the lead shoulder so external rotation isn’t a factor (as it would be if it was the trail shoulder ). But post impact was excruciating until I let it heal longer.

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  • 2 months later...

I had my surgery 7 weeks ago & go to PT 3 times a week.I hope it’s not 6 months before being able to play...They gave me a Trex machine to use at home & hopefully the combination will speed up the recovery.

I had a SLAP repair, biceps tenodesis, bone spur removed, and inflammation/bursitis cleaned up on my right shoulder on February 1, 2018. Got the all clear from surgeon on May 1. Shoulders feels much better and stronger than last year when I had the issue. Didn't realize how weak it was until I started hitting balls again. I was good to go 12 weeks after surgery. My advise is to be diligent with PT, ice, and Advil/Aleve.

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Although not a SLAP tear, I ruptured my proximal biceps tendon on my right arm the day before thanksgiving. I was devastated knowing that I would need surgery. I am very active and workout 4-5 times per week, do yoga, run, HIIT, you name it. I had a biceps tenodesis done along with a distal clavicle resection due to my AC joint basically being gone and it was bone in bone - surgery was 12/13/17. I went to PT diligently two to three times per week, and because it was winter and couldn’t do much outside, I did my own PT every single day diligently at home. I came back swinging 115 mph, although not the swing I had last fall, in the beginning of March, all range of motion returned. I am now swinging faster than I ever have, and hitting the ball like I was in the fall and it was because I did the PT. That’s the key. There aren’t any shortcuts. People see me at the range at my club and can’t believe it because it was t that long ago they saw me in a sling, decimated. My point is, there is a light at the end of the tunnel but it is largely dependent on you to reach it. PT, Ice, diet and safety. Best of luck.

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  • 2 years later...

Just wondering for those of you who have had shoulder surgery would you do it again.

 

 I am having all kinds of pain and limited range of motion (right thumb can touch right shoulder blade and left has trouble putting on a belt), MRI shows Bicep tear.

 

Dr. (Highly recommended by a couple of Dr friends and Chiro) after MRI recommending Biceps Tendonesis  sub pectoralis attachment and some minor labral Debridement slap repair.

 

Just nervous he thought give the tear and range of motion length of time that PT will not be effective. He wasn't pushing and I could try it but going to CHiro and band therapies he gave me made no improvement just getting worse and different pains.

 

Afraid to pull the trigger.

 

Thx

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On 10/3/2020 at 10:37 AM, bjpjjs said:

Just wondering for those of you who have had shoulder surgery would you do it again.

 

 I am having all kinds of pain and limited range of motion (right thumb can touch right shoulder blade and left has trouble putting on a belt), MRI shows Bicep tear.

 

Dr. (Highly recommended by a couple of Dr friends and Chiro) after MRI recommending Biceps Tendonesis  sub pectoralis attachment and some minor labral Debridement slap repair.

 

Just nervous he thought give the tear and range of motion length of time that PT will not be effective. He wasn't pushing and I could try it but going to CHiro and band therapies he gave me made no improvement just getting worse and different pains.

 

Afraid to pull the trigger.

 

Thx


I had recurrent dislocations in both shoulders and had surgeries to correct the instability a few years apart.  My right shoulder has been operated on 3 times over 40 years to re-attach  torn labrums.   

 

My left one once, and it's good to go. 

 

The surgeon's surgical technique on the right one was less than optimal (using coracoid as a bone block) and after 20 years or so it started to dislocate again.  Second surgery was arthroscopic  using a new surgeon and I fared better, but that one failed after 6 or 7 years.  Third one involved 9 suture anchors to re-attach an essentially avulsed  labrum.  That one lasted about 6 years before subluxation started again.   

As a left handed golfer, my lead right shoulder would become unstable at impact.  So I switched to playing right handed in order to have the right shoulder become the trail shoulder and, after a year or so, I'm  just now getting comfortable with the right handed swing.  

 

A bit of advice for what it's worth: pick your surgeon carefully, even if it means traveling out of town to have the procedure.  The first guy gets the best shot at doing it right.  

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I am 9 days out until my left shoulder SLAP tear repair, rotator cuff repair, AC joint removal and bicep tenodesis.   I have had SLAP surgery before, so know the drill.  My doctor has given me the expectation of 6 months of rehab before back to golf.  Will get after the PT, ice, etc.   Basically, the doc said, until the he gives me the go ahead, if I am not sure if I should be doing some action or activity, the answer is always "no."  Not looking forward to 6 months out, but, at least it will be taken care of, and, hopefully, it will rain like heck here in CA in the winter (we need the water, and, it will be easier to take not playing if its raining cats/dogs).

 
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  • 3 weeks later...

1 day post surgery. 

 

Surgeon said good news and news.

 

capsular release was successful , acromion was reduced , some debridement, and bicep tendon (tenodesis) was cut and anchored to the humerus sub pectoral Surgeon said everything badly inflamed   biceps looked a red lipstick.

 

one of the bodies removed a 1cm chunk of cartilage wasn't concerned and fixed if it become problematic. The rotator cuff is in good shape. Said ill be golfin 3 months , hope he right.

 

had me to pt 1 hour after surgery and more sessions at home . just a little worried i had the biceps was spasming quite a lot after my session today but he said that is not abnormal.

 

Sorry for rambling on the pain meds . 

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16 hours ago, bjpjjs said:

1 day post surgery. 

 

Surgeon said good news and news.

 

capsular release was successful , acromion was reduced , some debridement, and bicep tendon (tenodesis) was cut and anchored to the humerus sub pectoral Surgeon said everything badly inflamed   biceps looked a red lipstick.

 

one of the bodies removed a 1cm chunk of cartilage wasn't concerned and fixed if it become problematic. The rotator cuff is in good shape. Said ill be golfin 3 months , hope he right.

 

had me to pt 1 hour after surgery and more sessions at home . just a little worried i had the biceps was spasming quite a lot after my session today but he said that is not abnormal.

 

Sorry for rambling on the pain meds . 

 

He lied, it's 5 months for a slap. My doctor said that to and then when I went back for the 3 month check he said wait another 2 even though I felt fine. Your muscles will freak out every once in a while for the first month or two as the surgery site heals. If you have sharp pain that lasts more then 2 days you may have an issue.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

11 days out and I'm doing surprisingly well so far. I was out of the sling ( no more pain meds) and sleeping in bed in 4 days . PT said the sling is just to not use the biceps almost a reminder and guard against a falls. Rehab is tedious and painful at time but as my PT said you have to get range of motion now cause you can't recoup it later .

 

Still aways to go. I think having a great PT may almost be as important as a surgeon you really have to push through some discomfort .

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