My shoulder repair surgery was 11 days ago now, and things seem to be going pretty well. 17 more days with my sling, not that I’m counting, really. Pretty minimal pain at this point, except at night, when it’s pretty brutal — I think laying down on my back or side puts the shoulder into a position that puts pressure on the repair. So I’m not sleeping very well at all, which is discouraging, but overall I’m quite happy with how things are progressing, and am fired up about getting into PT in a couple of weeks.

I am blown away by the precision of the arthroscopic surgery. When I had my shoulder repaired 20 years ago, they made a 4 inch incision, detached the muscle from the bone, and generally had to open everything up to get in to repair things — that meant a 3 day stay in the hospital, and a long & painful rehab, although I don’t really remember much about it, honestly.

This time the experience is much different. I’ve got 3 band aids on my shoulder covering up 4mm incisions where the camera, vacuum and tools went in. My stay in the surgery center was 3 hours instead of 3 days. And as I’m recovering, it’s clear that only a few of the surrounding muscles and tendons and ligaments were really very disrupted. (Wearing my arm in the sling, by contrast, is creating more complaints — sort of a contact rash, a very sore elbow, and my wrist is pretty tweaked.)

On the whole, though, so far so good. 2 weeks left in the sling, then 4 weeks of PT (1st week is passive, where they will move my arm around; next 3 are active), then 4 weeks of strengthening. Feeling pretty doable at this point. Lots to see as I start to use the joint again, but optimistic so far.

I’ve included the pictures from the surgery above (click through to see the full size), although I don’t really understand too much about how to read them. If you number the pictures 1-9, going from left to right, top to bottom, here are a few choice shots:

  • #1 is showing the healthy tendon, no problem
  • #3 and #4 show the labrum before repair — pretty much shredded is what they said
  • #5 is the posterior top of the shoulder ball — shows a notch in it that’s come from repeated dislocations, as it gets bumped by the labrum on the way out — didn’t repair that since it doesn’t seem to be giving me too much trouble
  • #6 & #7 show the surgeon cleaning out the old stuff; #7 shows him roughing up my bone to cause “bony bleeding,” which encourages scarring like we want in there, I guess (sounds sorta awful to me, honestly, and I have lots of imagined pains due to my bones bleeding)
  • #8 and #9 show the repair, with some striped thread and metallic-looking anchors, which the surgeon (of course) said “looks great.”

Anyhow, that’s the update from shoulder central — in a bit of pain at nights, but super-optimistic.

Next up, traveling to Vancouver with my sling.


  1. How did you type all that, and the other four posts, with your arm in a sling?

  2. Get well soon John.