The Visit to My Surgeon

The last blog indicated I was off to see my surgeon, Dr Wheel to find to whether I would need more surgery. I have been unable to get external rotation to work in my left arm. It seems no matter how hard I will it to move, not a lot happens.

External Rotation

External Rotation

I can get a little bit of movement in the swimming pool or laying on my back.

As mentioned in an earlier blog I had been reviewed by a team of surgeons at the Alfred Hospital. When I met with Dr Wheel he indicated that they had been in agreement that the  external rotation was weak and would most likely need to be enhanced through a tendon transfer. Not the news I wanted!  The tendon transfer involves the latissimus dorsi muscle, commonly called “the lat”.

The Lat

The Lat

The lat attaches into your upper arm and in this transfer they move it to attach in your shoulder (I think). The effect, hopefully, is to strengthen the external rotation.

I asked Dr Wheel about the chances of success and he indicated that they have had success with children but neither he nor his colleagues have done it on an adult, let alone an ageing 59 year old. Whilst this doesn’t immediately inspire confidence, I have total faith in Dr Wheel to deliver. I admire his enthusiasm and creativity. He is a problem solver – here is the issue how can I get the best outcome for the patient. If he doesn’t fix me it will not be for the want of trying.

The down side to the surgery is that I will be in a cast for the best part of 10 weeks with my arm bent and sticking straight out. Like holding a plate in front of you. More concerning is 10 weeks with little physical exercise. I hope all the fitness I have gained since the accident will not be lost.

The surgery is planned for March and I have another visit to Dr Wheel in February. If he is happy with my improvement by then the surgery can be called off. So needless to say, I am being as rigorous as possible with my exercises to try to get some movement going. It is a few weeks now since I have seen Dr Wheel and I think there is slight improvement when lying down but unfortunately nothing whilst vertical – video attached.

About Craig Glass

I am a 68 years old. I am Senior Vice-Principal of Haileybury, Australia's largest private school. My passion outside of family and education is triathlon. I have raced over all distances with the highlight being completing the Ironman in 2011. Whilst training for my next Ironman I had an horrific accident which left me with a left brachial plexus injury.
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