Torn Left Pectoral Muscle - Surgery R...

Since: May 11

San Diego, CA

#1945 Jul 17, 2011
Chris,

I had a partial thickness MT junction tear: 5.4 weeks post-op. But, I think tendon tears like yours take longer to recover from than a small MT junction tear like mine. So, don't just copy what I said I did below. Go by how you feel.

I didn't feel comfortable driving for the first 2 weeks at least. Up to that point, any forceful movements with my right arm (turning the steering wheel) affected my left arm which was in a sling. I took the bus and got rides during this time. Around 3 weeks, I started driving, while wearing a sling. And close to 5 weeks I started driving with 2 hand. s.

Getting dressed and showering was only super difficult for me for the first week. Every day is better, as long as you go by how you feel, and don't push yourself.

The sling wearing is usually necessary for 5-6 weeks, but isn't as bad as you think. It usually is not necessary to wear it all the time, depending upon how you feel of course. I wore my sling all the time for the first 2 weeks, then I quit wearing it when I was around the house or typing on the keyboard at work for a week, Then around week 4, I only wore it while working out, sleeping, or driving. Then, only for sleeping and lifting for a bit. Now, after 5 weeks, I don't wear it at all.

If you had a full tendon tear, you should have an enormous deformity, since the entire sternal head of you muscle is no longer attached to your humerus. But, you might have difficulty seeing it if there is swelling, which there undoubtedly is.

Mike
Chris IL

Bartlett, IL

#1946 Jul 17, 2011
mhughes30 wrote:
Chris,
I had a partial thickness MT junction tear: 5.4 weeks post-op. But, I think tendon tears like yours take longer to recover from than a small MT junction tear like mine. So, don't just copy what I said I did below. Go by how you feel.
I didn't feel comfortable driving for the first 2 weeks at least. Up to that point, any forceful movements with my right arm (turning the steering wheel) affected my left arm which was in a sling. I took the bus and got rides during this time. Around 3 weeks, I started driving, while wearing a sling. And close to 5 weeks I started driving with 2 hand. s.
Getting dressed and showering was only super difficult for me for the first week. Every day is better, as long as you go by how you feel, and don't push yourself.
The sling wearing is usually necessary for 5-6 weeks, but isn't as bad as you think. It usually is not necessary to wear it all the time, depending upon how you feel of course. I wore my sling all the time for the first 2 weeks, then I quit wearing it when I was around the house or typing on the keyboard at work for a week, Then around week 4, I only wore it while working out, sleeping, or driving. Then, only for sleeping and lifting for a bit. Now, after 5 weeks, I don't wear it at all.
If you had a full tendon tear, you should have an enormous deformity, since the entire sternal head of you muscle is no longer attached to your humerus. But, you might have difficulty seeing it if there is swelling, which there undoubtedly is.
Mike
Hey Mike,
Thanks for the response. I had and have very little swelling in the chest area. It was a little swollen the first week but not now. The MRI suggests it is a full thickness pectoralis major tendon tear. Though I agree with you, shouldn't I have an enormous deformity? I have maybe a little pit in the armpit area. Not sure, but maybe as far as complete tears go mine might be the least it can be.It is possible the MRI interpretation is wrong, but I have had 2 ortho's look at it and to them it also looks like a full tear. The one ortho was surprised that the MRI came back a complete tear, he thought by just looking at me that it may have been a 20-30% tear. In fact the pain is not that bad even when pressing my fingers in the chest area, you would think it would be more. Since the MRI does show a complete tear and I do have weakness in the right arm pushing in a chair with my arm extended out , are the two main reasons I opted for surgery. If it was a complete tear and I didn't get surgery I would be much weaker and open to more injury. If it turns out once they open me up and it is a partial and the MRI was deceiving, then I will have the scar to show for it and I should recover most of my strength through rehab. It is hard to go against the MRI. Most of the swelling was in my arm. From what I am reading your better off having the tendon tear of the bone in terms of surgery. I am surprised you had a partial tear and decided for surgery? Mine may still turn out to be the same. When showering how did you keep the stitches from getting wet?
Chris IL

Bartlett, IL

#1947 Jul 17, 2011
Mike,
Did read you correctly, you were working out at week 4? What kind of exercises did they allow you to do? Sounds like you are having a good recovery.
Mike R

Jacksonville, FL

#1948 Jul 18, 2011
I almost 100% sure I have a torn pectoral. I injured my right pectoral doing bench press almost 3 years ago. I live in Jacksonville, fl and I am curious if anyone knows an ortopedic that does late pectoral tears. I know of Dr. Schepsis in Boston. I just was curious if there was anyone well known in Florida. Any feedback would be much appreciated. Thanks
chris il

Bartlett, IL

#1949 Jul 19, 2011
Had surgery yesterday, it was full tear from the bone. 1st day out and still pain. the medication helps alot. the sling thing sucks, sling in my right arm and i am right handed. i will post updates on progress.
chris il

Bartlett, IL

#1950 Jul 23, 2011
Day 6!

Pain is not that bad now, first 3 days were rough. Getting out of bed a couple of times felt liked it stressed the area a little but not now. Started driving day 5 with no problems and will go back to work monday. Dressing is no that bad either, tank top undershirts make it fairly easy. i take the sling off only for dressing and moving my elbow up and down my body so my elbow does not lock. it feels great to have it out of the sling when i do. i have read on hear people re-tearing the area on here so i will heed the warning and go slow.

What are the symptoms of a retear, how do you really know?

My ortho said the operation was about an hour and 1/2, most of the time was trying to find the torn tendon. once they did find the torn tendon they saw part of it was ripped off the bone but one part of the tendon was 90% intact and the other part 95% intact. This probably helped explained why i still had symmetry and range o f motion.
chris il

Bartlett, IL

#1951 Jul 24, 2011
just noticed my forearm is swollen a week out, may have been swollen before, but i just noticed. is this normal to see swelling in the forearm? is it from the sling?

Since: Jul 11

Location hidden

#1952 Jul 25, 2011
Hi, I just wanted to share my pec tear story and recovery. I was a competitive powerlifter in my teenage years. My best bench press was 375 lbs at a body weight of 175 lbs. I lifted fairly heavy most of my life. My pec tear happened in November 2008 at the age of 37.

As all of you know, the pain was very intense immediately after the tear. My MRI confirmed that I had a huge tear (3 inches) at the musculotendinous junction on my right pectoral. I had dark blood clots on my lower pec, back, and tricep. I went to three regional sports medicine physicians in my state. All three advised against surgery for this type of tear. One of the surgeons had completed 2 dozen surgeries.

Sewing muscle to muscle is a very risky endeavor. I opted to go the route of PT. I was able to regain all of my function in my triceps, 90 % in my right shoulder. Sadly, the pec regained about 50 % of my former strength. It took about 5 months to get back to some semblance of normalcy.

If you are in this situation, you should carefully evaluate all of your options. If you have a complete or partial tendon rupture, surgery may be the best option. However, I would be really careful if you have a large musculotendonous junction tear. You may be at risk for a retear.

I am glad to see that some of you have had successful surgeries and recoveries. Just thought I would share my story and recovery.

santsephai

United States

#1953 Jul 25, 2011
chris il wrote:
just noticed my forearm is swollen a week out, may have been swollen before, but i just noticed. is this normal to see swelling in the forearm? is it from the sling?
my arm was swollen for about a week after surgery. mostly my hand but my forearm as well.
chris il

Bartlett, IL

#1954 Jul 28, 2011
day 10! stitches are out. Sling will come off aug 29th, so about 5 1/2 weeks in the sling. Then rehab.
Chris

Virginia Beach, VA

#1955 Jul 28, 2011
For the first 3 weeks, I only road the recliner style exercise bike, and did quad extensions and hamstring curls (didn't start these until after 1 week). I didn't start doing upper body exercises (by this I mean very easy rehabbing-type exercises) until week 5.5. Now, I am in week 7. I am doing body weight upper body exercises (60 degree inclined pushups, and reverse pushups, cable curls and tri extensions, the shoulder lateral raise machine, more intense lower body workouts, and intense cardio (but no running yet). I just do what feels safe, and don't push myself in terms of upper body.

Currently, my chest feels better 7 weeks after surgery then it did 2.5 months after my injury before surgery.
chris il

Bartlett, IL

#1956 Jul 28, 2011
Chris wrote:
For the first 3 weeks, I only road the recliner style exercise bike, and did quad extensions and hamstring curls (didn't start these until after 1 week). I didn't start doing upper body exercises (by this I mean very easy rehabbing-type exercises) until week 5.5. Now, I am in week 7. I am doing body weight upper body exercises (60 degree inclined pushups, and reverse pushups, cable curls and tri extensions, the shoulder lateral raise machine, more intense lower body workouts, and intense cardio (but no running yet). I just do what feels safe, and don't push myself in terms of upper body.
Currently, my chest feels better 7 weeks after surgery then it did 2.5 months after my injury before surgery.
That is pretty good! I wont start upper body until at least 8 weeks. I can only do the bike for the next 4-8 weeks.
Matt

San Diego, CA

#1957 Aug 7, 2011
I'm about 5 months post op. I'm curious if anyone else has felt tightness in the bicep area where the pec was reattached? I can't do pull ups yet, but when I hang from the bar, I can feel the tightness in my bicep area where the screws are attached.

It's gotten better over the weeks, but I'm curious if others have had similar experiences and what they did.

Since: Jan 11

Fullerton, CA

#1958 Aug 7, 2011
Matt wrote:
I'm about 5 months post op. I'm curious if anyone else has felt tightness in the bicep area where the pec was reattached? I can't do pull ups yet, but when I hang from the bar, I can feel the tightness in my bicep area where the screws are attached.

It's gotten better over the weeks, but I'm curious if others have had similar experiences and what they did.
I feel that for sure. I roll out with a lacrosse ball and it seems to help. Why no pull ups yet? Im sure after 5 months your repair is strong enough. I did bench yesterday after a two week layoff and it got really tight after. Upper bicep, right where the deltoid goes over it, where the screws are. Icing after helps to. Ive been doing ice massages with an ice cup that helps loosen it up. that may help!
amin

Dallas, TX

#1959 Aug 7, 2011
Hi,One day I expérienced this nerve recking pain around the left upper side(wingblade)of my back. Then days later the left side was swelling up pretty bad.I went to a chiraprator and expérienced something down my left arm.When he pushed down on the upper left part of my back. Also my thumb became numb. Also by the way ,I'm used to doing 300 push ups a day;now its to a hault. But the swellens down due to ice I think. My left arm is not as strong as my right. And I Can't do any push ups because of my left arm. Also I feel a indent in my left pect-. Will I live......
Leigh-Rhys James

Liverpool, UK

#1960 Aug 16, 2011
HEY :

Responding to Matt Royersford, PA , ok the post is old , but I cant find other recent ones to comment on.

I got a little wasted , and tried to jump a boat I usually do all the time ( wakeboarding ).

To cut long story short , I did not make the jump , instead my buddy pulled my thru the boat , it was tourist boat for giving guides , lots of seat in it ( maybe 200 odd ) tat are all fixed to floor , i went thru that area , got pulled thru ripped loads out.

Ripped my arms our , shoulders , full break of chest plate / sternum , and huge amounts of rips to pecs , shoulder muscles , all over cant really list it all as loads.

But YO - to answer your post , I did amongst others that rip on the pec muscle where it connects to the chest plate ,

You said ur surgeon dude can not fix it inside , well mine said they could , but check man , the deal they told me ..was that they re open my chest up , like total open the sternum or whatever , pull the ribs apart , then go in and under , and work from insdie lookign out kinda thing .

I spoke to some dude in Germany , some fibre re construction firm , problem is they say 40 % chance of being paralyzed afterwards

got major amounts of injuries if anyone else wants some help man , kinda good at wipe outs and well getting hurt so If i can help , hit me up

cheers man
Matt

San Diego, CA

#1961 Aug 18, 2011
Wonder if Animal or that other poster ever got around to seeing Schepsis, or is he out of commission?
Rick

Placentia, CA

#1962 Aug 24, 2011
I tore my right major right pectoral on 7/27/11 and had surgery 8/11. The tendon tore from the bone. I will be in a sling for 6 weeks and off work during this time. After the sling comes off, the doctor will still keep me off work for another 4 weeks. When I start rehab, I can go back to work light duty. Total time off work will be 3 months and 3 months of rehab.

The pain post surgery has not been that bad and I stopped taking pain pills 2 days after surgery. I have a Cold Therapy Unit that I use 5 times per day for 1 hour that controls the pain.

During my research of this injury, everything I read states it is a very rare injury. I find this odd. Since April 2011, including myself, 4 of us at work have torn our pects doing the bench press during a physical fitness test. The commonality, we have all worked out since we were teens, all of us are in exceptional shape and we are all now in our late 40's. That should tell you something..lol

I will check in from time to time to let you know on my progress.
Mike

San Diego, CA

#1963 Aug 24, 2011
Chris form Illinois,

I responded to you a while back about exercise, but it appears I mistakenly listed my name as Chris :-)

Update,

I am currently 11 weeks post surgery. I am doing my own rehab, as my doctor recommended (to hell with rubber band, lol). I have been slower progressing my exercise since 6 weeks post-op. I am doing yoga, lower body but with reduced weights (only going up to 265 lb on the Smith Machine only, and light weight on straight-leg deadlifts), running, biking, and doing upper body exercises, but with reduced weights. For example, I started doing 5 lb dumbells for shoulder presses for sets of 30, and now do 20 lb dumbells for shoulder presses for sets of 30. On any exercises that strongly affect my chest, I am doings 20-30 reps per set (push ups, cable rows, pull downs). I can do 10 chin ups now w/o adversely affecting my chest, but with only about a 75% range of motion just out of caution. I suspect that it will be at least another 5-10 weeks before my chest feels normal. Then, probably another 3 months to get to strength level that I am happy with. I have no intention of trying to obtain my previous strength levels, as I believe it is overkill. I have had full range of motion for quite some time.

One thing I have noticed since my surgery is that my entire chest seems to engage during exercise. Before surgery, it felt like something was missing. However, my chest still feels like it is prone to re-injury if I'm not careful so I never push myself, and it is relatively weak. For pushups, I am primarily doing them at a 30 degree incline, and do sets of 30 to 50, but not pushing myself to over-exhaustion (I just got to were I can do 50). For flat pushups, I can do over 20 for my first set, but it is very challenging, so I don't do it often. I am staying away from anything that pushes my chest.

Rick,

I believe that the information saying that this injury is rare is based on old data. Our culture has changed substantially in the past 20 years, and now the male ideal is often as ridiculous as the female ideal forced on us by mass media. Due to the increasing prevalence of people bench pressing and working out in excess, this injury is becoming much more common, as evidenced by the nearly 2000 posts on this message board. Nearly everyone tears their pec during bench press. I have come to the conclusion that full-range-of-motion bench press sucks, as do weighted dips (I believe doing weighted dips with over 200 lbs around my waist instigated my injury, although it occurred during bench press).

amin,

it sounds like you could have torn a lat muscle. You should get it checked out by a sports medicine doctor, and get an MRI....I had a similar injury once that healed fine on it's own, but given your description, it sounds like yours is much more serious. I injured mine doing heavy pulldowns I believe (and overtraining - the same cause of my pec tear).

Matt,

I do feel occasional stiffness in my entire left arm, but it seems to get better with time. When I first started doing curls again, the stiffness and pain was very bad. Of course, my repair didn't even involve my biceps or humerus bone.
Mike

San Diego, CA

#1964 Aug 24, 2011
Chris,

Also, despite what people may have tried to convince you of, partial full-thickness tears do not recover to pre-injury levels. Perhaps they do for people that don't push themselves, but not for people in elite physical condition. People not in elite physical condition are nowhere near there genetic potential, so getting back to that is relatively easy despite an injury. I made a post discussing this several pages back. It is not possible to get near your potential if you have a muscle that is severely damaged. A partially torn sternal head means that a significant portion of your muscle no longer is attached to anything, thus not giving it the tension required to provide a meaningful force for any but the most limited range of motion if at all. I have spoken to many bodybuilders and athletes besides myself who opted for not having surgery that have corroborated this fact. The best recovery I have ever heard of with a partial MT junction tear was 70%(and I am not sure what percentage tear this was).

Tearing a pec and expecting it to heal back to normal on its own is like taking a pulley system in which 5 pulleys are attached via a tight cable to a 200 lb weight, then cutting 2 of the cables, and expecting the same lifting power. The tension in each cable was 40 lbs before the removal of 2 cables, and remains 40 lbs after the removal of 2 cables.

Now, if one doesn't care about regaining your abilities with your chest fully, then not having surgery could be a good option. But, in my opinion, surgery is very easy, and the recovery is very easy. If one has insurance, and aren't afraid of surgery, they should just do it.

Also, although many say sewing muscle to muscle is risky, and indeed I imagine it is, it is not risky in the hands of skilled surgeon, and a patient patient (no pun intended :-)). My tear was repaired by essentially sewing muscle back to tendon with some additions made by my surgeon to strengthen the repair. In the end, you need to do your own research, and logically consider your alternatives. Doctors don't know what is best for you, and only have a very limited snapshot of reality.

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