No comparison in shoulder docs!

The amount of time, listening, actual hands-on testing and palpation of my shoulder, movement evaluation, the physical therapy instructions demonstrated and just the overall time that we were shown us today by Dr. Suzanne Hall and the PA Maureen were outstanding. To sum it up they spent more time with me today explaining, examining, going over my MRI and surgery, than all the time pre and post I received from the surgeon who actually did my surgery.

The instructions of the post care was night and day also. One gave me absurd post -op instructions, the likes of which I never heard for anyone else, and had an assistant hand me a piece of paper and the bands – that was it. Maureen went over each one. Dr. Hall went over my MRI images with me. The surgeon who did my surgery did not. Seems like most of my issues came from following the surgeon’s absurd post care instructions, losing the sling too early, using my arm too much, too early, and doing resistance PT WAY too soon all as instructed. I wish he’d just said “hey, I’m the surgeon and I don’t give out post care instructions.” It’s okay to not know. It’s not okay to dispense horrible instructions.

Despite the fact that the post care instructions and PT were completely different than what Dr. Hall would do, she did not put down or say anything negative about the doctor that did my surgery. It was hard to miss the shock that briefly passed across on Maureen’s face when she heard those instructions and when she heard that it was 2 months after my stitches came out before I had another appointment. I’m guessing they don’t span that long in follow up care and they came right out and said their post care instructions were not the same at all.

Without further x-rays to know for sure and going from the surgery notes and from what Dr. Hall could see from the other doctor’s images, it sounds like nothing was done incorrectly, with my labrum, and the impingement repair.

The one spur removal and the labral repair looks like what she would have also done, except she explained why she wouldn’t have moved the bicep over. Now the original surgeon told me he removed a spur from my scapula/shoulder blade and that he repaired my rotator cuff. There was no repair of my rotator cuff, just as I thought after reading the report. Dr. Hall said she probably wouldn’t have repaired the rotator tear either with the size and location, but the biggest issue I have was we were told it was repaired when it was not.

The biggest differences between both doctors come in the aftercare.

Dr. Hall keeps you in your sling a LOT longer, I think she said a month, and they wait at least I think 6 weeks before doing much more than pendulums or small movements – plus they don’t ever use those D%*$  bands. That’s a huge change from don’t move your arm at all then do resistant bands on day 8 post surgery. Just like the physical therapist I went to months ago, Dr. Hall said it was too much too soon that no one starts resistance therapy that soon after surgery. She said you have to give the shoulder time to heal from being prodded with instruments. When she does start PT it is just passive movement started like 6 weeks after surgery and she doesn’t ever use the bands.

I should’ve listened to that voice in my head after never hearing of not one single person online or in person that started PT much less bands on day 8 post surgery. I knew it was too soon. I kick myself for following that horrible advice from the surgeon, and I should’ve never started back on them or pushed thru pain trying to do what he said, knowing the pain shouldn’t be excruciating. Rest, healing,  then movement before strengthing – makes a lot more sense.

Dr. Hall thinks the pain now is likely inflammation from my shoulder and the bag or area around it never having time to really heal after the surgery. That the tendons are just tight. They were impressed with my range of motion- that I pretty much think is horrible.

On the bright side with the correct care, it looks like I’ll make an improvement without another surgery which is an answer to prayer!

She didn’t even want an MRI which was a pleasant surprise. I was sent home with new PT instructions, that I was actually given instructions instead of just handed a paper.

I showed Maureen the ones I found online after I quit the bands and was doing on my own over what the surgeon gave me and told her the two the physical therapist added to the ones I found. She nixed some and added some and told me not to lift anything heavier than a cup of coffee for a month. They made a follow up in a month and said they hope I’m doing so much better I can cancel it.

So, this turned out to be a best case scenario for me. The surgery was likely done correctly. The bands and (wrong) PT too soon set me back. If I wasn’t so much of a needle phobic Dr. Hall said a cortisone shot to speed up the inflammation decrease would helped.

Even though my shoulder and bicep hurt immediately from lifting something too heavy (20 months ago) they think the bicep pain is referred pain. My bicep never changed where it hurt from date of injury, to now after surgery.  They think the pain in the front if from the tendons being tight from the labral tear/repair.  I thought they said the pain in the back was from my rotator cuff but on their little shoulder mock-up Dr. Hall showed me where the tear was and it was more at the humerus top where the sup. tendon attaches to the humorous. So maybe I misunderstood what the pain in the back was from. They did mention massage and I forgot to ask if they had someone who knew how to work with bad shoulders. I forgot to ask if she thought doing the bands could have messed up the surgery in any way. My hubby did mention that I can do thumbs down now so it probably didn’t mess up the labrum repair and since the rotator tear wasn’t repaired unless it made the tear worse doing them, it didn’t mess up the surgery I guess. Then again I hadn’t really been using my right arm for 15 months, then had surgery, then did the stupid bands that made my pain skyrocket. I hope they didn’t damage anything.

If any of you have shoulder pain I can recommend Dr. Suzzane Hall. Now I can’t speak for her surgeon skills but I think her and Maureen both spent more time with me than any other doctor in my life. They even did take the time to read my surgery post on this blog… Now I bet it is few and far between you would find a doctor that will do that!

So Dr. Suzanne Hall and Dr. Susan West are the two best doctors I’ve ever been too. Both listened and heard and treated me like an individual. No cookie cutter approach from these two female doctors! I also got a tip that no male doctor would be able to ‘get’. When you are having to fasten a bra in the front and spin it around to the back after you get it fastened- if you’ll put your pants on first you can swivel the bra over your pants instead of trying to drag it across your skin every day.

On Dr. Halls website it says this statement and I kinda glazed over it until after my visit but it is so true.

This extra expertise creates a very different experience for those in need of shoulder care. The visit begins by really listening to you.  Family or friends are encouraged to come as an extra pair of eyes and ears.  The exam is thorough and tests are only ordered when necessary.  Diagnoses are clearly explained.

Whenever possible, nonoperative treatment is tried first.  When surgery is needed, gentle techniques are used to minimize pain, speed healing, and maximize results.  After surgery, you are instructed in home exercises which can usually be done without physical therapy.

Oh, one last thing to clarify because I said it wrong.
The shoulder is NOT connected to my lower ribs with the latissimus dorsim or otherwise, even if moving my arm is impossible when my rib head is displaced. Can’t go around making false statements ya know.

Now, I gotta go all these exercises will probably take hours out of each day 🙂 and I’ve got a boatload of computer work to get done before the new computer comes and I have to start moving 1TB of stuff.


But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

1 thought on “No comparison in shoulder docs!

  1. authorbillramsey

    Kimberly, Strongly agree with your thesis. After surgery, too many docs dump patients and recovery happens slowly or not at all. Patients also make many mistakes. I see it all the time at the gym where people get too creative and enthusiastic about their exercise. Technique is often all wrong. Good to caution others.



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