Shoulder / Arm issues post surgery - Oesophageal Patie...

Oesophageal Patients Association

5,630 members3,089 posts

Shoulder / Arm issues post surgery

Shortfatbald profile image


Diagonosed and treated for Oesophagial Cancer. Had surgery late Feb 18, usual thing big scar on back, laparoscapy through stomach.

In the last month I have been having major issues with the mobility in my arm and shoulder, I have an appointment with a physio, but was wondering if this is related to the surgery and if anyone else experienced something similar or is it just co-incidental.

8 Replies

Assuming you complaining about your right arm and shoulder as the scar was on right hand side of the rib cage!

Have you carried out any activities which could be strenuous/significantly more than earlier you carried out before last month?

For some people, the shoulder problem can be the effect of having their arm raised in an unnatural position for the long duration of the surgery. Gentle, progressive physiotherapy and exercise can gradually restore mobility, but you will need some professional assistance to work out the best exercises etc.


I has problems with my LEFT arm a couple of weeks after surgery. Maybe due to sleeping elevated, I couldn't find the reason. In July I was on holiday in Spain and enjoyed swimming in the pool and in the sea. Now it's much better.

It's the inevitable consequence of having your right shoulder dislocated and your right arm pulled up and out of the way for the duration of the IL procedure. It will stop, though my right shoulder still looks odd to this day (a slight pointed protuberance); to the extent that on one visit to A&E on an unrelated matter led the triage nurse and duty doctor to insist on X-rays to ascertain whether to was still dislocated a year after my procedure!

Hi, yes I did and I know of another patient who had the same issue. Urs were caused by a torn rotator cuff. This is a piece of cartilage in the shoulder and can be damaged if the arm is jerked suddenly if a backward direction. None of our medical teams have said anything about it but in chatting to a young student doctor (fired of my son) he said a likely cause is that you had to be repositioned rapidly at some point during surgery. It's painful and beyond painkillers and physio there is not much you can do. It heals itself is about 6 to 9 months, or mine did. Good luck, I run a support group for oesophageal patients and my view is that if this is the only complication I came away with then the got off very lightly. Good luck for the future I wish you a swift and full recovery.

Michael P.

Thanks for all the replies, I'll give an update after physio has a look.

im still experiences severe pain at back of shoulder where shark bite is after 13moths post op and nerve damage ends where rib taken out, and causes muscle to pul on centre of ribs and back. Made worse a few weeks ago after pulling small suitcase behind for my first every plane flight(first in 64 years).work up next morning in Dr triple my dosage of gamapentin which took the the nerve pain away, but still got pain right across chest and shoulders. does not help having to sleep on back all the time which makes me restless all night.

My consultant a couple of weeks ago finally put me down for physio treatment. I think one of my concerns was that i was never told the extent of what damage could be caused when they have to get at cancer area, with all the muscles,joints being move about to gain access. But only to glad to get rid of cancer, and suppose keep taking the medicine.

all the best for you circumstances

Martin in Leicestershire

My op was a year ago and I still have right shoulder problems at times. I was given exercises by hospital physio to get movement back which worked. It still gets stiff at times though. I assume it will improve with time

You may also like...