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SQUEEKY2's avatar

Would you opt for an operation that has less than a 50/50 chance at being successful?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (22466points) March 2nd, 2015

I have a torn rotator cuff, and have been off work since late November.
Have been doing physio and have all my rotation back, just a bit sore in a few directions.
My Doctor, and the specialist say I can not return to my job for another six months.
My Boss has offered a lighter haul, only 8 hours a day with almost no physical work, instead of my run of 14 hours a day and lots of work.
I might according to the Doctor be able to just live with it, and in 6 months be able to return to my job.
I’m kinda leaning to the lighter haul and see in 6 months, or do you think it’s a better idea to chance the operation?
I should add the Doctor is OK with me trying the lighter haul.

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18 Answers

SQUEEKY2's avatar

I should also add the operation will totally put me off work for another 6 to 8 months.

janbb's avatar

I think I would go with the course you are suggesting: lighter work load and wait and see in six months. If the operation will not necessarily help and there is no real downside to a wait and see approach, why risk surgery?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Thanks @janbb I just wanted to hear it from others .
Only down side if I rehurt it I will have no choice but to have the operation.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Seems like an easy choice. Delay and try a year with physio, light exercise and a lighter haul. If you decide you want the surgery you will be in better shape and will have increased your odds of success.

kritiper's avatar

You betcha! But who’s paying? That would make a HUGE influence on my decision!

JLeslie's avatar

I, no question in my mind, would go lighter work and see how it goes. I’m more paranoid than average about surgery though.

My question would be can you opt for surgery in 6 months or do you somehow lose the window to do surgery?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Can a torn rotator cuff heal on its own?

SQUEEKY2's avatar

If I opt for the light load , the specialist wants to see me in 6 months and we go from there.
@kritiper It’s a workplace injury and totally covered no expense dollar wise on my account.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@Dutchess_III sorta a yes and no, if that makes any sense, with physio and exercise it will get stronger, but that tear itself wont be as strong as it once was.

Strauss's avatar

I agree with what @janbb said, being a choice between: an operation that just might work, but will put you out of work; and a six month wait that might have the same outcome, with no surgery and lighter workload.

Pachy's avatar

I once faced a similar situation and opted not to have the surgery. To this day I know I made the right choice.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Thanks @Pachy I like hearing that, I have 2 coworkers that the surgery didn’t work, but I think their rotators were worse than mine.
Except for a bit sore all my rotation is back.

LuckyGuy's avatar

Now that you know, you have 6 months to get in training that will improve your surgical outcome if you need it down the road. Also keep in mind that surgical equipment and procedures are constantly improving. Maybe in 6 months they will have a machine optimized specifically for rotator cuff injuries.
I figure unless the you are talking about an aggressively growing tumor, it is usually better to wait.

Pachy's avatar

Glad to hear the progress, @SQUEEKY2. I think @janbb has it exactly right.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Only if it failed I would be dead.

gondwanalon's avatar

With only a 50% chance of success I would have to be totally desperate before I would let them slice and dice on me.

You already have realized improvement with the physical therapy. If I were you, I would continue with that and not mess with surgery. The body has a great ability to heal itself if given the right conditions. Also learn as much as you can about avoiding injury and healing and strengthening your rotator cuff. Make the strengthening exercises part of your routine indefinitely. Finally get adequate sleep, eat a good diet, lay off the recreational drugs including alcohol and tobacco.

Good health!

gorillapaws's avatar

Shoulder surgery is horrible. My father who has had open heart surgery and a knee replacement said he’d rather do 2 more of those instead of another shoulder surgery. For him, it was impossible to find a comfortable position to rest in and ended up wedging himself into the corner of the couch, and sleeping in a hunched-forward sitting position for a long time during his recovery period.

I’d advise the conservative therapy if possible. It might be worth getting another consult from a second specialist just to make sure. If it got to the point where conservative therapy wasn’t working, I’d consider the surgery even with less than 50% odds, simply because it’s better than the alternative.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

Whatever you decide, I hope you feel yourself again soon. All the very best!

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