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Save my shoulder! (Distal Clavicle Resection)
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Apr 26, 2011, 12:18 PM
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Registered: Apr 26, 2011
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Save my shoulder! (Distal Clavicle Resection)
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I fell on my shoulder back in the beginning of 2010 while snowboarding and it basically killed my dream of rock climbing :[

I went to a few doctors and all the X-rays kept coming back negative until i got an MRI and the doctor said I have a Shoulder Impingement which he called Traumatic Osteolysis Distal Clavicle and I can get a Distal Clavicle Resection if I wanted.

He told me that after the surgery I would be back to where I was prior to the injury almost right away. I might have caught his wording wrongly but how I understood it is that after the surgery it would be like I never injured my shoulder. He also said that I would NOT be doing damage if I decided not to get the surgery and if I wanted to get it in 10 years that would be fine.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

I have been reading this thread where people got (I assume) the same surgery but they call it weightlifter's shoulder and nobody ever mentions shoulder impingement or injuries from a hit to the shoulder. Also the people in this thread say they have a lot of pain post surgery and it takes them many months to feel normal again.

Is my doctor describing the same surgery that a lot of weightlifters seem to get?

As for me I am 21 years old and I have full range of motion in my right shoulder and almost no pain most of the time. When I fell it was really painful to move my arm. But there is discomfort, like it just doesn't feel like my other shoulder. When I play soccer or other sports after 10-15 minutes of moving around my shoulder starts to get sore and feel weak. It feels like it's just hanging there and when I compare my shoulder in the mirror it looks droopy and not symmetrical (hangs lower) with my other shoulder.

Does anyone have any tips, advice, insight, information, personal experience they can share? I want to know if I should heal 100% after this surgery and if my shoulder will be raised up after the surgery? Why does it hang and look lower than the other one?

Thanks a lot!


(This post was edited by livedee on Apr 26, 2011, 12:29 PM)


Apr 26, 2011, 1:22 PM
Post #2 of 3 (2592 views)

Registered: Nov 24, 2003
Posts: 4449

Re: [livedee] Save my shoulder! (Distal Clavicle Resection) [In reply to]
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I suffered from genetic Osteolysis of the Distal Clavicle and had surgery to fix it.

Basically my acromion never fused together properly so the surgeon cut it apart and screwed together. This created the space and stability needed in my AC (acromion and clavicle) joint which eliminated the pain. I believe the surgery that I had done was a bit more intense then what you’d have. In your case I believe that the doctor will remove 5-8mm of the tip of your clavicle. That being said the overall result and recovery times should be about the same but you won’t have any screws in your shoulder.

It took about three months before I could climb again. I have recovered 100% use of my shoulder after the surgery. I do have a bit of discomfort caused by the screw heads creating inflammation when I climb hard in the cold but it isn’t bad at all. I could have the screw heads removed with another surgery but I just take an ibuprofen and if feels fine.

You will be in a good amount of pain from the surgery though as they are cutting off / screwing together bone. For the first week you'll be on pain meds and sleep sitting up. You'll wear a sling and shoulder immobilizer for the first month, then for the second month you'll just wear the sling. During the third month you won't wear anything but are not supposed to lift anything over two pounds. The third month is when you’ll really begin the physical therapy hard. By the beginning of the fourth month I was able to climb again but as you can imagine after three months off and surgery I wasn’t back to what I used to climb.

Overall I’d say it took about six months to get back to what I was climbing at pre shoulder problem. Please not that I did not say pre surgery as my shoulder


Apr 26, 2011, 4:07 PM
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Registered: Aug 3, 2007
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Re: [livedee] Save my shoulder! (Distal Clavicle Resection) [In reply to]
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Yes, I've treated a few of these.

As long as the surgeon says there is nothing lost by waiting, I'd opt for some really aggressive, athlete-based PT.

You CAN look up shoulder exercises on the internet, but please trust me, they need to be done exactly right. I personally have a long history of severe shoulder problems (former recurrent dislocator) and even with all my knowledge and experience, I can often tweak my technique a little here and there by looking in the mirror while I exercise, and I've been rehabbing injuries a long time.

Do yourself a favor, go see a good, sports-oriented, outpatient orthopedic PT.

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