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Shoulder surgery: Doug's experience

Updated: Friday, March 21 2014, 11:01 AM EDT

The older we get, the more likely it is we will shoulder the burden of shoulder pain. Millions will see a doctor for it each year after the pain wakes them up at night or makes it hard to do simple daily tasks like washing their hair.

In 80 to 85 percent of cases, surgery is not needed. But an operation is the answer for about 600,000 Americans every year, including 13WHAM’s Doug Emblidge.

Doug had his first shoulder surgery at Thompson Hospital in Canandaigua two years ago. This past December he was back again to have the other shoulder repaired.

Orthopedic Surgeon David Grimm found a trio of problems in Doug’s shoulder. Beyond the arthritis, Dr. Grimm pointed out that he had an impingement and a torn rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is a combination of muscles and tendons that attach to the ball of the ball-and-socket in your shoulder. It's a key player in a lot of what your shoulder does for you

Doug explained, “In addition to shaving off some of the loose tissue and smoothing off some bone to create more space, Dr. Grimm used a bio-absorbable anchor with sutures to tie my rotator cuff in place so it can reattach itself in the weeks and months after surgery.”

An essential part of the recovery is physical therapy, first at home, then with a physical therapist to regain motion, and eventually, strength.

Doug said even his physical therapist Mitch Carlson admitted it is an uncomfortable process.

“With both operations and recoveries I've had the discomfort and some inconvenience, but not a lot of pain,” Doug says. “Sleeping after the surgery might have been the biggest challenge for me. It’s good to remember that shoulder pain is most often treatable without surgery. But if surgery is prescribed, and a patient doesn't have it, the conditions causing the pain can become irreversible.”

Doug says he hopes to be golfing again “as badly as ever” by mid-summer.

Full recovery from the surgery takes about a year.

Shoulder surgery: Doug's experience

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