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What Experts Are Saying About Shoulder Surgeries

What Experts Are Saying About Shoulder Surgeries

 

Until recently, a patient with a full-thickness tear of a rotator cuff muscle was a candidate for surgical intervention. Meaning, it was a given that that person was going to get shoulder surgery.

No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it. 

Due to recent research, however, shoulder surgery may no longer be the fact. Which is wonderful news since nobody I have ever met in person actually looks forward to surgery of any kind. In fact, most of our patients are doing anything possible to avoid it. Especially shoulder surgery. Who wants to walk around with a pillow under their arm for six weeks?

When somebody thinks about a full thickness tear of a muscle, shoulder surgery seems the obvious next step. So, what’s the deal here?

The new paper is called “What happens to patients when we do not repair their cuff tears? Five-year rotator cuff quality-of-life index outcomes following nonoperative treatment of patients with full-thickness rotator cuff tears(Boorman RS 2018).” It is authored by RS Boorman, KD More, RM Hollinshead, et al. and published in Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery in March of 2018.

At 5 or more years follow-up, approximately 75% of patients remained successfully treated with nonoperative means. Those patients had a quality of life score of 83 out of 100. 

Between years 2 and 5, only 3 patients thought to have a successful outcome regressed and had shoulder surgery. The operative and the nonoperative groups at the 5-year follow-up were not significantly different. 

The authors concluded, “Nonoperative treatment is an effective and lasting option for many patients with a chronic, full-thickness rotator cuff tear. While some clinicians may argue that nonoperative treatment delays inevitable surgical repair, our study shows that patients can do very well over time.”

More and more recent research such as this has been focusing on conservative care like exercise rehab rather than being quick to do surgery. Some of this initiative can be blamed on the current opioid crisis in America is going through. Some of it is simply because Americans are trying to lower healthcare costs and reduce bad outcomes from bad surgeries. 

If surgeons are completely honest, they will admit that many surgeries, although permanent, have a little to no effect. And, in some, have permanent ill-effects. So, it makes sense to do everything possible to avoid surgery and see it as a last option treatment. 

That is exactly the way we look at it here at Creek Stone Integrated Care. We utilize exercise and rehab as part of our everyday treatment process. Patients do not simply come in and see the chiropractor and walk out the door in most cases. Typically there is additional therapy and stretching or strengthening. That is because research has shown that approach to be the most effective. 

It is not solely rotator cuff and shoulder issues that we can help either. We are able to rehabilitate just about all parts of the musculoskeletal system to help avoid surgery. Patients do very well in the long run. 

And that is really exciting news. 

If you think we can help you, call us at 806-355-3000 and let’s get you set up for an appointment today. 

Jeff Williams, DC

Creek Stone Integrated Care

3501 SW 45th St., Ste. T

Amarillo, TX

806-355-3000

www.creekstonecare.com

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