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Thoracic Outlet Syndrome Thoracic Outlet Syndrome/Brachial Plexopathy. In Memory Of DeAnne Marie.

eleven days post surgery and still cannot lift arm

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Unread 12-10-2012, 05:02 PM   #1
tsquaw
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Default eleven days post surgery and still cannot lift arm

Can anyone that has had pec minor release with scalenectomy and first rib removal tell me of their experience? I'm getting concerned with the fact that I still cannot lift my arm. Is this normal prior to physical therapy?
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Unread 12-12-2012, 02:35 PM   #2
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Can anyone that has had pec minor release with scalenectomy and first rib removal tell me of their experience? I'm getting concerned with the fact that I still cannot lift my arm. Is this normal prior to physical therapy?
Hi there I had all three procedures as you and yes, it is difficult to raise your arm for a while. I am 4 weeks post-op and couldn't raise my arm very much at all at first. I find if you keep your elbow in and raise a little more each day, the ROM will start to come back. At the first sign of pain, you must stop. Do not push it, and listen to your body. I would usually start light stretches to raise as comfortably as I could after a nice hot shower to loosen up some of the tension. To give you can idea - after 2wks post-op I went to PT and was measured. I could raise my arm about 80 degrees, now I am 4wks post-op and I can raise it about 120 degrees. I hope this helps you Best of luck to you in your recovery.
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Unread 12-13-2012, 08:03 AM   #3
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Thank you for easing my mind! I read so many posts where people have said they have no problem with moving thier arms other than pain. ofcourse I have the pain but that's not what's stopping me from moving my arm. I have less ROM now than before the surgery. what did you do your first two weeks of physical therapy? I won't be doing any for at least two more wks.
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Unread 12-13-2012, 08:44 AM   #4
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My first two weeks of PT for the pec minor was massaging the incision area to start the process of breaking up scar tissue. It was a little painful and burned, but also felt good, too. I even massage my incision area, into the armpit, into my chest gently to help release some of the tightness I feel. There's one nerve gliding stretch that I do also that helps a little. Not sure if I can explain it very well, but I'll try. Lie on the side of your bed with your incision side on the edge. Rotate your head to the inside of the bed, and bend your knees. With your outer arm gently move it away from your body to form a "v" between your arm and side. Only move your arm out as comfortably as you can without pulling on your pec minor. Gently move your hand pack towards your wrist 25-30 times. This is supposed to "milk" the nerve and help with healing. The other stretches were yes/no's (chin tucks moving head up and down gently first for 20x's and then rotate head right to left as if gesturing "no" for 20x's) 2 times a day. Other than manual therapy of soft tissue massage that's all I've been given to do. I did have trigger point dry needling at my 3rd session. There were about 10-12 injection sites, but none on the front side. The traps, levalator scapulae, rhomboids, scapula and subscap were treated. It was horribly painful, and not sure I will do that again. I was told to begin to lift my arm each day as comfortably as I could. Doing this after heat from a shower did help, but after the first sign of any pain, I would back off. Hope this helps a little
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Unread 12-13-2012, 02:20 PM   #5
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Can you lean over and let the arm dangle loosely at all?

They didn't tell you or give you any movements to do at release time?

I would think some easy slow swaying movements with arm loosely at your sides would be good, just to keep things free, lubricated and not locking up.

Adjust as needed if there is pain.

Wth the added Pec minor release there might be more limitations than others have described.

You might use the search feature to find specific posts about pec minor tenotomy post op recovery..
or a web search brings up some old posts too.
https://www.google.com/search?q=pec+...-a&channel=rcs
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Unread 12-16-2012, 08:53 AM   #6
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I am able to move it just a bit more today but still have trouble bringing it up to my face to drink etc. cannot move it out to the side unless I prop my arm on something and then walk away from it. does that make sense? Lol. I wasn't given any pt yet. I have appt on the 19 to see my surgeon. thank you both for the info. at least most of my pre surgery pain is gone!
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Unread 12-16-2012, 08:35 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by tsquaw View Post
I am able to move it just a bit more today but still have trouble bringing it up to my face to drink etc. cannot move it out to the side unless I prop my arm on something and then walk away from it. does that make sense? Lol. I wasn't given any pt yet. I have appt on the 19 to see my surgeon. thank you both for the info. at least most of my pre surgery pain is gone!
It sounds like a side effect I've read about. Sometimes during surgery no matter how good your doctor is or how careful they are they bump the nerve that moves your arm and it can take up to 8-10 months for you to regain strength and function in that arm. It's something that you heal from, but nerves take awhile to get back into shape. I do wish you the best of luck though! If that is what happened, I'm truly sorry and hope you heal soon. At least take heart in the fact that it's not permanent.
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Unread 12-18-2012, 06:40 AM   #8
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I think you may be right my left shoulder blade is definitely winging also. hard to lean back in a chair. I have a lot of muscle atrophy in my hand so I'm sure now that it is just another symptom of nerve damage. I am scheduled to return to work Feb 1. I'm a rural carrier and have to be able to lift up to 70lbs by then! Not really confident that's going to happen. I will be seeing my doctor tomorrow so hopefully I will know more about if my condition is normal. it amazes me at how different all our experiences are! Gladvto have this site to talk with all y'all.
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Unread 12-20-2012, 01:34 PM   #9
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Oh no, I am so sorry to hear that. I had a follow up on Tuesday, and things are looking good. I am able to raise my arm up fully, just pulling out to the side is difficult/painful. The stretches help, and I am advised to stop when it starts to hurt. My surgeon said it will take about 3 months, and it's still early on. I had a friend that had a slight winged scapula from surgery, and she is actually doing great now. Her PT focused on strengthening the area that was weakened from surgery, and she is well. We did not have the same doctor so their protocol was a bit different. Best to you in your healing, and hopefully it's just a matter of therapy to get you back to work in time.
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