Following a car accident, Debra Gabaldon’s shoulder pain was so bad that she could no longer tend her tomatoes or play with her 10 grandchildren. However, within three months after Dr. Schnell performed shoulder arthroscopy, an outpatient procedure, Debra was able to do everything she could do prior to her injury, from cleaning her home to holding her grandchildren. She plans to plant a new vegetable garden next spring.
In 2013, Debra Gabaldon was in a car accident and began experiencing severe shoulder pain. Gabaldon, an avid gardener, could no longer plant and tend her tomatoes or other vegetables in her garden or have any of her 10 grandchildren visit unless her husband was at home. As an accountant who worked all day on her computer, her shoulder was continually sore. One night her husband rolled over in bed, accidentally hitting her. “It hurt so bad that I knew something had to be done,” she says.
When her husband retired, the couple changed medical plans, and Gabaldon went to see Dr. Lucas Schnell, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in shoulder injuries. He ordered an MRI, which confirmed that Gabaldon had a full thickness rotator cuff tear. Gabaldon would need surgery to repair the tear.
Last May, Gabaldon had shoulder arthroscopy by Dr. Schnell. Shoulder arthroscopy is the least invasive method to repair a rotator cuff injury, and Gabaldon went home the same day. Three weeks later, she started physical therapy. “Even my PTs were highly impressed with Dr. Schnell’s protocol. They were clearly written,” says the 62-year old Wheat Ridge resident, who took it slow at first. However, within three months, she had progressed to the point she where she should have been. Today, she rates her pain a “1” or “2” on a 10-point scale, depending on the day of the week. “It’s usually a ‘2’ by Friday after I’ve worked all week,” she explains.
“Debra was an excellent patient. She did her post-operative exercises,” says Dr. Schnell. “Great results take commitment from the patient as well as the surgeon.” According to Dr. Schnell, it will take a year for Gabaldon’s shoulder to fully recover. However, Gabaldon says that she can do almost everything she could do before, from putting up dishes and scrubbing her home to having her grandchildren visit without her husband present. She also plans to plant a new garden next year. “Dr. Schnell was fabulous,” she says. “He acts like he cares and seems to know what he is doing.”
Click to Watch Dr. Schnell’s Lecture on Rotator Cuff Tears.
In the interview, he explains a Rotator Cuff Tear in-depth, as well as the treatments we provide for such injury here at the Center for Spine and Orthopedics.
About Full Thickness Rotator Cuff Tears
A full thickness rotator cuff tear splits the soft tissue into two pieces. There is basically a hole in the tendon. The most common symptoms are pain at rest, at night and when lifting or rotating your arm or a crackling sensation when moving your shoulder in certain positions. Tears that happen suddenly usually cause intense pain. Tears that develop slowly due to overuse also cause pain and arm weakness. Click Here For More Information
Orthopedic surgeons use arthroscopy to inspect, diagnose and repair joint problems. During shoulder arthroscopy, your surgeon inserts a small camera, called an arthroscope, into your shoulder joint. The camera displays pictures on a television screen, which your surgeon uses to guide miniature surgical instruments. Because the arthroscope and surgical instruments are thin, your surgeon can use very small incisions rather than the larger incision needed for open surgery, resulting in less pain, shorter recovery time and a faster return to favorite activities.
Shoulder arthroscopy has been performed since the 1970s. It has made diagnosis, treatment, and recovery from surgery easier and faster than was once thought possible. Improvements to shoulder arthroscopy occur every year as new instruments and techniques are developed. Click Here For More Information