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A new technique makes rotator cuff surgery less painful!

Rotator Cuff Repair surgeries are notoriously painful! Many patients say it is the worst pain they have ever experienced. To make matters worse, you are bound up in a sling after surgery and can’t move the arm to try to “find a comfortable spot”. Most people are unable to lie down comfortably and need to sleep sitting up in a recliner. The pain after these surgeries gradually improves but for many patients can last several weeks. Sounds awful, right?

The next frontier in rotator cuff surgery is finding a way to make these operations hurt less. This is something that I work very hard at for my patients. Luckily there is a new technology that seems to be helping. The On-Q pump is a device that makes the nerve block given before surgery last up to three days. A nerve block is an injection of numbing medicine given by the Anesthesiologist before surgery. Typically these blocks will make the shoulder and arm numb for 12-18 hours, which allows the patient to get home comfortably before the pain starts. With the use of an On-Q pump the blocks can last up to three days. This allows patients to avoid the pain experienced during the first few days, which is the most intense.

I have been using this technique for over a year, and I have seen some great improvements. It doesn’t work for every patient but it makes a big difference for most. I have even had several patients tell me that they never had any pain after their surgery!

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I enjoy sharing this story because it is a testament to patient's who are seeking a solution to shoulder arthritis who want to remain highly active. I am grateful for patients like Fred who give me the opportunity to improve their overall quality of life!