Rotator cuff repair surgery results are not that great. Several published studies, including this one, have shown that outcomes are not much better with surgery than without. Large tears tend not to heal well, and re-tears are common. Even after “successful” surgeries patients may not recover full range of motion and end up with limited strength and function of the shoulder. I learned this the hard way, as I tore 3 of the major tendons of the rotator cuff (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, and subscapularis) about 8 years ago. Surgery was performed to repair all 3 tendons and I did not improve. A second surgery was performed during which it was found that all 3 repaired tendons had torn again. Three cadaver grafts were used to repair them. I did better after the second surgery, but never recovered full range of motion and muscle strength is about ½ of my other shoulder.
Joseph C. is a 65 year old male who lives in Florida part time during the winter. He came to us with a painful right shoulder with decreased range of motion. Patient’s pain was constant and severe, and he was unable to lift his right arm overhead. An MRI of the shoulder was read as showing a complete tear of his right rotator cuff (supraspinatus tendon) and he was evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon who recommended rotator cuff surgery. Mr. C wanted to look for other alternatives and he found out about stem cell therapy and about using his own body’s healing power to treat torn rotator cuff tendons. In February of this year we performed our RegenaJoint procedure and injected his right shoulder with stem cells harvested from his bone marrow. At the two-month follow up he already showed significant reduction in pain, but was still presenting with decreased range of motion and weakness of the shoulder. We recommended to continue treatment with physical therapy. We recommend physical therapy to all our patients as this is a very important step in the rehabilitation of that injured body part we are trying to regenerate. This is of particular importance for the shoulder to recover range of motion, strength, and function that becomes limited with tendon injuries and chronic pain.
Mr. C followed our recommendation and started physical therapy as soon as he returned to his summer home. Today we received this faxed progress report from his physical therapist: “Improving with exercises. Some clicking noted. Minimal pain. Range of motion near full, but strength is coming back slower, still at 75%.”
We are glad to see that Mr. C is working hard in his own recovery and that the function of his shoulder has improved significantly. Also glad to see that Mr. C is virtually pain free four months after his procedure.
This is another case typical of the patients with shoulder problems that we are able to treat and help without the risks, costs, and long recovery associated with surgeries.
To learn more about non-surgical alternatives to joint surgeries go to: www.dontoperate.com.