If you were right handed and couldn't raise your right arm at all without wincing in pain, it would drive you crazy right? Nancy Naeve Brown and Photojournalist Jeff Cleland were allowed into the operating room to watch as a Sioux Falls woman had her torn rotator cuff repaired without having to cut open her shoulder.
Renee Coley from Sioux Falls is having surgery in one of the new Avera Surgery Center Operating Suites to have her right rotator cuff repaired. A fix she has been looking forward to.
Renee says, "Everyone asks me how I did it? I don't really know. I've been suffering since January with it and I have pain all the way from my elbow to my neck which really gives be a headache."
Dr. Erik Peterson CORE Orthopedics Avera says, "In her case, it's the most common reason (for the tear). It comes from rubbing on a prominent spur. You see the bone; it sits above the rotator cuff and acts life the roof of the shoulder. Often times a spur develops on the end of that bone and overtime can lead to thinning and eventually a tear or a hole develops in the rotator cuff as was the case with her."
Surgeon Dr. Erik Peterson operates under a green light. It helps him see the monitors better and yet still see what's going on around him.
Dr. Peterson says, "The traditional surgical approach for rotator cuff repair is to make a large incision around the shoulder splitting through the muscle in order to get down to the level of the rotator cuff and then repair the tendons back. I use a minimally invasive approach called arthroscopic rotator repair which includes making tiny hole pokes or key holes around the shoulder inserting a small instrument called an arthroscope, we view it on the screen and using various instruments and suture anchors in order to repair the tendon."
Before he can suture the tendon in place on the shoulder bone he shaves down the surface of that bone to make it bleed. The bone thinks it's fractured and initiates a healing response so the tendon adheres solidly to it. The real advantage to this less invasive way of repairing her rotator cuff is less pain meds and a faster recovery. Renee will start rehab in month.
Renee says, "I know it's going to be tough, but you have to have pain to gain."
Gaining motion and strength in her right arm is something she very much looks forward to having again.
We are going to follow Renee through some of her physical therapy and rehab too.