My Rotator Cuff Repair

By Toni

Tonis Patient StoryA couple of years ago, sleeping was a problem when I’d roll over onto my right shoulder: Pain would wake me up.

Since I am the kind of person who doesn’t usually deliberate when something needs to be done, I made an appointment with Dr. Dennis Crawford. He examined my shoulder, sent me for an X-ray and an MRI, and ultimately told me I had a torn rotator cuff. As I recall, one tendon was completely torn, two had tears and one was intact.

He told me I could wait to have my rotator cuff repaired, but if I waited too long, I might need a shoulder replacement. I trusted Dr. Crawford and scheduled surgery.

Before surgery, Dr. Crawford ordered physical therapy to strengthen my shoulder and hopefully provide a faster recovery. Also before surgery, I made the voluntary decision to have a nerve block.  This was an option to help with post-surgery pain. It was the right decision!

Stories abound about pain following rotator cuff surgery. But I am happy to report I was almost pain free. I was shocked - pleasantly shocked! So was my sister who traveled from NYC to be my Florence Nightingale. She’d heard the same pain stories!

My surgery was outpatient and laparoscopic. That meant I was home in about four hours with four small holes in my shoulder.

Physical therapy continued after surgery - twice a week for a couple months at OHSU with Lindsay Brown. She was my therapist before surgery, too. The mix of her great personality and medical expertise made it an enjoyable and physically rewarding experience. Physical therapy after surgery is hard work, and sometimes a little scary. She really relaxed me, but kept me on target!

Dr. Crawford is fabulous. It’s so important to believe in your physician. I liked and trusted him as a person, and in my medical experience I couldn’t ask for anything better. Everyone in his office and all the care related to my surgery was excellent.

Today both my health and arm are great. I’m an active senior with no arm discomfort; I can roll onto my shoulder without pain, just as Dr. Crawford said I would, and zip up dresses in the back. In fact, I just returned from a trip to Florida, where I had a massage. I told the masseuse I’d had rotator cuff surgery and asked if she noticed any difference between my left and right shoulders. She didn’t!

I live in the South Waterfront, and I love having OHSU as my neighbor. I have all my doctors there. It’s convenient, but beyond that I am thrilled with my medical care.