A torn rotator cuff is a common cause of shoulder pain and disability knowing someone who's had a hard recovery from surgery is also a common reason people don't get it fixed. Maybe this will change your mind. Nancy Naeve Brown has been following a Sioux Falls woman since her August 2011 surgery, through rehab, and now her 7 month check up with her orthopedic surgeon.
To appreciate how far Renee Coley from Sioux Falls has come to be able to raise her right arm, is to understand how badly it hurt to move it at all and her head before her August 2011 rotator cuff repair surgery.
"I couldn't turn my neck to look for traffic when I was driving. Now I can do whatever I want, which is wonderful, "Renee said.
"Renee had a torn rotator cuff tendon and that's when the muscle and tendon were torn off the bone and pulled away. The rotator cuff is what allows you to move the shoulder, lift up and give you strength. It's also very painful when it's torn," Dr. Peterson said.
We watched as Surgeon Dr. Erik Peterson at CORE Orthopedics Avera Medical Group arthroscopically repaired her torn rotator cuff inside a specially lit operating room in the Avera Surgery Center in Sioux Falls.
"In surgery I use an arthroscopic minimally invasive technique where we went into small poke holes or key holes and arthroscopically repaired the tendon back down to the bone," Dr. Peterson said.
Dr. Peterson says the difference in long term results between traditional open rotator cuff repair surgery, where they cut your shoulder open, vs an arthroscopic repair has shown to have similar outcomes. It's the short term that's got patients like Renee sold.
"Well I don't have pain. I can reach up into the cupboard and take down dishes I used to drop them and break them," Renee said.
"Short and medium term rehab and recovery is faster. It's been fun to watch her go through the progress," Dr. Peterson said.
"I can lift it up, I can put it back. I said to someone I can finally hook my own bra hah, "Renee said
Recovery doesn't come without hard work though. Renee went to physical therapy at CORE Orthopedics weekly from September 2011 through January 2012 and did rehab exercises at home.
"I think she's doing excellent. It's certainly a long recovery. 90% of that recovery is done in the first 3 months and then you spend the last year letting the last 10% back and that's producing strength and endurance in the muscle," Dr. Peterson said.
Would she recommend the surgery to others?
"Absolutely! Who needs to live in pain all the time? I probably had the best doctor I could have had. Really because everyone else seems to want to cut you and you don't have to go through that, "Renee said.
Renee thinks Dr. Peterson is head and shoulders above other surgeons because a short 7 months after surgery she can freely and painlessly now move her arm above her head and shoulders.
For more information on CORE Orthopedics Avera Medical Group go to: