Faster shoulder surgery recovery

A faster recovery from shoulder surgery. Local surgeons say a new technique cuts down the down time with the same or even better results as a traditional procedure.

It’s an overuse injury more common among volleyball players, pitchers and other overhead throwers. A tear in the ring of cartilage that lines the shoulder socket.

Dr. Michael Terry, orthopedic surgeon, Northwestern Memorial Hospital: “When they get their elbow away from their body and they start to bring their arm back, sometimes that can peel the superior labrum off of the socket.”

The injury often requires surgery and a four- to five-month-long recovery. But doctors like Northwestern Medicine’s Michael Terry are trying an alternative approach called biceps tenodesis.

Dr. Michael Terry: “The recovery from the repair we do is 3 to 4 weeks.”

The key is moving a source of tension — the biceps tendon — which normally attaches inside the joint.

Dr. Michael Terry: “Wwgntv-faster-shoulder-surgery-recovery-20121129hat we’re doing now is we’re cutting the biceps from the socket and anchoring it right here.”

With the tendon anchored in bone below — not in the socket — natural force that normally pulls on the joint is eliminated, allowing the labrum to heal better.

Jade Dismore, biceps tenodesis patient: “Kind of a dull pain just sitting there …”

Not one to sit around, Jade Dismore pushed through the pain in her left shoulder. But as she trained for a triathlon, it slowed her down.

Jade Dismore: “He did an MRI and he called me that night and said ‘You have a tear, you’re going to need surgery.’ I thought I’d be out for quite a while. It’s hard for me not to work out.”

With Dr. Terry’s approach, she didn’t have much of a rest.

Jade Dismore: “In four weeks out of the sling, starting physical therapy. It was very quick, before I knew it I was back to normal activity.”

Dr. Terry: “We’ve had excellent luck. We’re looking at all our data now and the results are excellent.”

The procedure is gaining traction among high level athletes and professionals. If you’d like to learn more, check out http://www.orthopaedics.northwestern.edu/faculty/

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