Shoulder Surgery Journal

Rotator Cuff

My name is Tom, and I have a torn rotator cuff and am scheduled for surgery in late August (2012). I’ve decided to blog my experience with this procedure in an effort to give others, who may be considering surgery, an idea of what they may expect.

You can read a lot of comments online and talk to doctors and therapists about rotator cuff surgery, but I will tell you, day by day, what I actually experienced as a patient.

I am 60 years old and lead a pretty active life. I enjoy playing tennis, and do pretty much whatever I want. But, because of my tear (3 cm /1.25″), I have had chronic pain for about 12 years now. I first visited a sports medicine surgeon in 2001. At that time he recommended surgery, but also had me start therapy sessions at his facility. I found that the more therapy I had, the more the pain increased. In other words, the therapy made my condition worse. After stopping the therapy, my pain lessened. I was not prepared at this time to undergo the operation. At that time, they did not have MRI’s to evaluate the rotator cuff. The doctor told me that I could try to do exercises at the house to try and get relief, but he believed that I would ultimately need to have the surgery.

Since my pain gets more severe with use, I find that the more I play tennis and use my shoulder, the more I need pain medication to deal with it. After 12 years of putting up with the chronic pain, I once again visited a sports medicine surgeon, who scheduled me for an MRI. The MRI provided confirmation that I did have a tear in my rotator cuff which could not be treated by therapy, and my doctor recommended arthroscopic surgery to reattach the torn tissue to the bone. This time, I have decided to go through with it, albeit with fear and trembling, as I’ve heard from several people that the pain associated with this surgery is very intense.

I really hope I’ve made the right decision on this. I could just put up with continual loss of strength and backing off on the things I enjoy doing, but I am hoping that the surgery will gain me a better result than that. Also, the fact that I’m getting older makes it more important to do it sooner, rather than later, since the older one gets, the longer it takes to heal.

So, join me in the journey which will begin August 30th. I will blog as I go, and hopefully give others the benefit of what I experience.

Thanks for your interest in my journey!

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