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Shoulder News

Weight Gain after Shoulder Surgery

The main purpose of this study was to see how much weight patients gained right after shoulder arthroscopy. The second goal was to find out what causes the weight gain.

It all started with a doctor who had shoulder arthroscopy to repair a rotator cuff tendon. The day after surgery he weighed himself. He had gained 15 pounds! There were no other symptoms of any kind. He was worried he might have congestive heart failure. A trip to the emergency room proved it was just fluid from the shoulder surgery.

In this study patients having shoulder arthroscopy were weighed before and after surgery. The same scale was used each time. The same person recorded the weight each time. Patients were weighed without shoes and socks while wearing a hospital gown. After the operation the weight of the sling and bandages was subtracted from the total weight.

It turns out everyone gained some weight. Some patients only gained two pounds. Others gained up to 20 pounds. The average weight gain was 10 pounds. Most of the weight gain was from the fluid pushed into the joint to separate it and give the surgeon room to work.

Some swelling goes away within the first 30 to 45 minutes. The rest of the extra fluid is slowly absorbed by the body over the next few days. Too much fluid retention can lead to nerve damage, difficulty breathing, and skin injury.

The authors warn surgeons to be aware of this possible problem. Shorter surgery time can help reduce the amount of fluid pushed into the joint. It doesn't seem to matter what size tube is used to send the fluid into the joint.


Ian K. Y. Lo, MD, FRCSC, and Stephen S. Burkhart, MD. Immediate Postoperative Fluid Retention and Weight Gain after Shoulder Arthroscopy. In Arthroscopy. May 2005. Vol. 21. No. 5. Pp. 605-610.


07/19/2005

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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