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Thread: shoulder blade dropping

  1. #1
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    shoulder blade dropping

    I have had several surgeries including cervical. In the last few months my right shoulder really started to drop. Yesterday the Dr told me ithat the "long thoracic nerve" has a palsy. I am to have an EMG on it . I hate them . Has anyone else had an EMG on that nerve? I am trying to imagine what that may be like. Has anyone else had that nerve effected?. It is causing my right shoulder to drop quickly. It causes the shoulder blade to get stuck. When that happens I have to have someone put it in place for me or it is painful.
    Linda, do you have any information on this?
    Last edited by jackieg412; 03-07-2015 at 02:29 AM.

  2. #2
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    Is that a C7 nerve root palsy? I've seen references to it, but never paid enough attention to really know anything about it. So sorry you got dealt yet another issue.

    --Linda
    Never argue with an idiot. They always drag you down to their level, and then they beat you with experience. --Dilbert
    I'm sarcastic... what's your super power? --Unknown
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Surgery 2/10/93 A/P fusion T4-L3
    Surgery 1/20/11 A/P fusion L2-sacrum w/pelvic fixation
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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  3. #3
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    The only info that I have is that nerve begins at c5-6-7. That PT is tried first and 6 months or so is allowed for the nerve to settle down. If it doesn't work and the shoulder stays like that then surgery may be indicated to help nerve function. The EMG and MRI help tell the extent of nerve involvement.

  4. #4
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    I am looking for someone to help with any information on shoulder blade issues. So far, the EMG showed that the long thoracic nerve is alright. The nerves to the muscles that control the shoulder blade are also alright. This is a very good thing as nerve damage is not reversible. The MRI showed some issues with the shoulder but minor and not in the area to cause the shoulder to drop down like this. I just had a CT scan last week to look under the shoulder blade for what ever is locking it and now preventing some movement . It has the shoulder drooping down a lot. The shoulder Dr said that the shoulder blade may have to be fused to the ribs to keep the shoulder in place. That I believe is the most extreme treatment. Hopefully it is a rib or growth under the blade that just needs to have adjustments. I live near Chicago and the Dr already said it would have to be at one of the large university hospitals. Has anyone had anything like this or been treated at one of these hospitals in Chicago ? With this so out of place it has created a big balance issue and if I don't hold it up when I walk it feels like it is being torn apart underneath. Very uncomfortable and getting worse. Ed please post anything you may know as you had a shoulder injury.

  5. #5
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    Jackie-- so sorry about your shoulder problem! I cannot help you with that at all. I did have my scoli surgery in Chicago, though -- at Rush University Medical Center. It has been ranked in the top 10, nationwide, ever since I've checked, for its orthopedic area. It's very nice and the nurses were excellent in their care. I never had to wait and I only had one grumpy nurse. They just remodeled a few years ago. Chris WBS had her scoli surgery at the University of Chicago. I don't remember how she said it was-- just that she liked her surgeon, Dr. Gupta, but I believe he left there even though he is still practicing in Chicago. We'd have to check on that and the reason. Anyway, my 11 day stay at Rush was memorable-- I even ordered Fannie May candies (similar to See's) for the staff at Christmas, 6 months after my surgery. They (the orthopedic wing staff, housekeeping on up) were great. (of course, that is just my opinion...)
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  6. #6
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    Thanks Susan, I do not know for sure at this point but I do think the referral will be to Rush. The doctors that are treating me are part of Dupage medical. And Rush has offices in their buildings. I will find out more on Wednesday and I am hoping that it will be an easy fix. The doctor did mention fusing the shoulder blade to the ribs but that must be the most extreme thing. It would be very debilitating. Right now the shoulder and blade are so out of place that I am fighting for balance. That is tiring and makes the spine sore. Either leaving it or fixing it seems to make it hard on me. And I was doing so well.

  7. #7
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    Talk about bursting your balloon. Sometimes we think all is going so well. Just like what Susan C posted the other day when she said, early on to Irina something like "isn't it good we won't be one of those that will need more surgery" and then it didn't turn out that way at all. Life is full of unexpected twists and turns on our path, and we just have to (whether we want to or not) head on down that way. Rohrer was on here the other day talking about her Charcot Marie Tooth that has her using a walker and giving her much difficulty. I just finished up a round of physical therapy for mine, hoping to help with some balance issues and to strengthen some of my leg muscles in hopes that if I keep it up on my own they won't atrophy very much. Life always seems to get in the way and we get busy and it's hard to fit in time. And then I scold myself and ask what is more important? These daily "busy" things that call for action right now? Or what's down the path for me if I don't do my exercises... But I have gotten way off topic except that you weren't expecting this shoulder blade problem just as I had no idea about my CMT. Things happen. I certainly hope that they can resolve your problem without fusing it to your ribs. That does sound pretty severe. I'll be praying for you. Let us know what happens at your Wednesday appointment.
    66 and still heartbroken...
    2007 52° w/ severe lumbar stenosis & L2L3 lateral listhesis (side shift)
    5/4/07 posterior spinal fusion T2-L4 w/ laminectomies and osteotomies @L2L3, L3L4
    Dr. Kim Hammerberg, Rush Univ. Medical Center in Chicago

    Corrected to 15°
    2014 DXd w/CMT (type 2)

    Click to view my pics: pics of scoli x-rays digital x-rays, and pics of me

  8. #8
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    Jackie, I have no idea what is going on with you.....it could be a whole host of things....

    How long has this been happening? and how many times? Can you lay low so it doesn’t get triggered off? Are there any indicators that might give you a clue as to when it happens? Only when standing? walking? etc.

    Is the shoulder drooping or is it pulling down like a spasm type event?

    How bad is the pain? 1-10 and where is the pain? Is there atrophy? Is the arm and hand ok?

    Think about all the clues......this also helps the doctors. Write it all down.

    Sorry this is happening.....this is so terrible...

    Hang in there
    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 59, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  9. #9
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    Hi Ed. Thanks for the input. Since the thoracic hardware was placed 4 years ago my right shoulder blade seemed to wing off and get caught somewhere. My PT would help me move it. It would seem better for awhile. Then certain movements would cause it. He would fix it. So it has acted up for 4 years. I had a portion of left hardware removed last August and an additional level of cervical fusion last November. After that cervical fusion I felt off balance. Then in January I noticed the right shoulder dropping. I was sent back to PT and asked them to help me watch it. No pain in shoulder. As I went to therapy, it got worse. No pain but dropped further. The PT said no more therapy , because it was happening so quickly and sent back to Dr. They thought nerve damage, I had the EMG and all nerves they checked are fine. Hand and arm move fine and no muscle weakness . I can bring the shoulder back in place by holding it up and then the shoulder blAde moves ok. As soon as I don't hold it up the blade locks and I can't lift my arm. So I had an MRI on the shoulder and minor issues there but not causing this problem. I had a Ct scan last week and will get those results on Wednesday. Then the discussion will begin between shoulder Dr and spine Dr. There is a thought that something is under the blade. The dropping was noticed in January and is further down now.. Hard to walk because of balance and rubbing on the bones as the blade is so out of place. No accident caused it. It is a mystery.
    Last edited by jackieg412; 04-07-2015 at 02:40 PM.

  10. #10
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    Jackie

    I’m wondering about your neck......of course, I’m going to be very interested in this due to my history.

    What exact levels do you have fused right now? Without this stated in a signature, its hard to keep track.

    It would be best to have a timeframe or chronological order of each exact procedure with symptoms. All of it in a dated format. Doctors have their own medical history forms to fill out, and after doing these myself in the past, this is such a pain to do, writing our own books, sitting in pain, in an office chair. Use it as a supplemental medical diary or history, short and sweet, in an organized format.

    Example....

    Surgery #1 October 2001 T4-L3 fusion Posterior only Dr So and So Atlanta General Hospital
    Notes: Pain started in arm Nov 2002, shoulder droop.
    Meds: Oxycodone 15 weeks
    X-Rays and MRI

    Surgery #2 Sept 2005 Revision L3-Pelvis Rods extended, ALIF performed with BMP Dr Lennon Liverpool General Hospital
    Notes: Went well for 12 months, neck acted up shortly after
    Meds: Percoset 12 weeks, reduced dose remained on 10Mg
    X-Rays, MRI, CT Scan

    Surgery #3 Cervical C5-C6 ACDF Dec 2008
    Notes: Can only turn head to left 20 degrees Physical therapy started, worked ok
    Meds: Hydrocodone 9 weeks

    This surgical history will be helpful for every doctor you see.....if you don’t want to post here, e-mail it to me. I can try to help with organizing it.
    My radiologist noticed that I didn’t have gall stones before my scoli surgeries. Diagnostic history is always helpful, especially CT history.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 59, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  11. #11
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    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
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    I agree with you about the history being very important. I don't know how to put it in the signature but here is how it goes----- 12/08---fusion T10-pelvis. Fractured T-9 six days out of surgery. Cervical fused C 5-6-7 in 9/10. Then t2-to T-10 fused 2/11. Shoulder blade symptoms started a few months later. My PT had to keep putting in place. It would lock up and he would guide it in place. I have had PT several times for it but shoulder was in place. Next in 8/14 I had t6-10 hardware removed on left side. All other hardware is still there. It is the right side that has the shoulder blade issue. Then in 11/14 cervical c4 was fused. In six days I knew I was off balance. All of this is with same Dr. In January at my follow-up visit I commented on the right shoulder dropping. I was sent to PT . I asked the PT to help me watch this as we know it is a sign of scoliosis. During PT it was noted that the shoulder dropped more. So they sent me back to Dr to be rechecked as something was progressing but what was it. They thought nerve damage and I had EMG. All nerves and muscles are alright. And that is a very good thing. Then a shoulder MRI that shows some minor issues but not causing the dropping. Then CT and I will find out later today what that may show. The shoulder Dr is thinking something under the blade----a rib out of place, bursitis, growth? The blade will not track on its own now. I can move better if someone pushes it into place and the I move my arm. It is locked and preventing movement. It doesn't really hurt unless I try to move through the locked part. But I am so out of balance unless I hold the shoulder up by putting my hand on my hip. Also part of this long journey is worker's comp and part isn't. I have a printed history to make it easier for me. Thanks Ed.

  12. #12
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    reno,nevada
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    Ok Jackie

    Here is a sample signature, correct if I made a mistake. This tells us what was fused and when

    12/08 T10-Pelvis
    09/10 C5-6, C6-7
    02/11 T2-T10 PJK Revision or extension
    08/14 T6-T10 Left side only hardware removal
    11/14 C4-C5

    Signature is easy.
    1) Log in
    2) Settings
    3)Edit Signature
    4)Copy Paste, or simply type in your data
    5) Preview, edit, Save Signature.

    Why was the left side hardware removed when the right shoulder is acting up? Did you ever get an answer on this?

    Lets hope it isn’t a growth. You “could” contact the radiology dept for the report and a copy burned to disc for your records. I do this since I had records lost many years ago when my surgeon retired. The diagnostics gets thrown in the dumpster.

    You have a lot fused.....

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 59, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
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    Hi Ed I was able to get the information in the signature. Thanks for your help. The hardware on the left was removed last August because it was bothering a nerve on my side. Since my rods are not one long one ,but in two pieces they were connected by a domino connector. It looks like a small rectangle. I am small in statue so it was always rubbing. I have pictures in a other post because someone wondered how the rods were connected. It is in the teen section.
    Now the update on the Ct results. There isn't anything that can be seen under the shoulder blade. Some issues in the shoulder----loose bodies and small tare. The shoulder doctor said these are not causing the blade to drop. The tested nerves are fine and no muscle atrophy. So far he or the spine Dr can't fiquare out why it happened. I noticed it in January. It continues to drop. This Dr wants to send me to one of the large hospitals in Chicago. He recommends university of Chicago. He thinks the only thing that can be done is fuse the blade to the ribs as it is so far out of place. It being that far out of place is putting stress on spine as I am really off balance. He said they wire it to ribs. It is Very Big Deal.It needs a major team of doctors and a large medical center. I have an appointment with my spine Dr on Thursday. The shoulder doctor said he will discuss it with him. I am told it is very complicated and will cause limited arm movement but he doesn't recommend that I just leave it as it is because of balance and spine. It is a big decision. My PT is coming with me to this appointment. It is scary to think of this fix.
    Has anyone even heard of this?
    Last edited by jackieg412; 04-10-2015 at 03:20 AM.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    Fractured t-9 six days out of surgery
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    PJK at t-9
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    Removal of left side t6-t10. 8/14
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    reno,nevada
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    3,557
    Have you asked about some sort of brace? A good orthotist might be able to figure out something......perhaps a soft brace...

    Nice signature! Its helpful.

    Ed
    49 yr old male, now 59, the new 55...
    Pre surgery curves C12,T70,L70
    ALIF/PLIF T2-Pelvis 01/29/08, 01/31/08 7" pelvic anchors BMP
    Dr Brett Menmuir St Marys Hospital Reno,Nevada

    Bending and twisting pics after full fusion
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/showt...on.&highlight=

    My x-rays
    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...2&d=1228779214

    http://www.scoliosis.org/forum/attac...3&d=1228779258

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    illinois
    Posts
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    I have not asked about a brace but I will. I am glad PT is going with me as he has been putting it in place for 4 years. The good thing is the muscles are not weak. It must be all that band pulling has paid off. I will have all questions ready for Thursday as it is a team meeting. However , I will allow them to make the recommendation as to what large hospital group. I can get to Chicago but it is not easy. It is challenging to find my way around the city.
    T10-pelvis fusion 12/08
    Fractured t-9 six days out of surgery
    C5,6,7 fusion 9/10
    PJK at t-9
    T2--T10 fusion 2/11
    Removal of left side t6-t10. 8/14
    C 4-5 fusion 11/14
    Right scapulectomy 6/15
    Right pectoralis major muscle transfer to scapula
    To replace the action of Serratus Anterior muscle 3/16

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