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3 posts from February 2011

February 23, 2011

Shoulder Function After Surgery

There is an interesting study that came out of Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit that used new technology to compare the shoulders of 22 patients.  These patients had arthroscopic surgical repair of tendons and rotator cuff tears in one shoulder, and the study compared the injured shoulder to the other, non-injured shoulder.  Interestingy, they found that long-term shoulder function, in particular shoulder strength and joint stability, are not fully restored after surgical repair, and there are significant differences when compared to the opposite shoulder, and that the differences persist over time. 

This is interesting.  Orthopedic surgeons will frequently cite how their patient satisfaction after a rotator cuff repair is high, in spite of the prolonged six-month recovery from the surgery.  Of course this is in contrast to the recent research that shows these shoulders appear to be permanently not as strong, and in general not as functional, as they were at baseline.  This needs to be looked at, particularly in comparison to some of the research suggesting that physical therapy in an organized, specific fashion or daily therapy at home with something such as the RotatoReliever, may be just as good if not better than long-term outcomes from surgery. 

I think that given the amount of pain, suffering, and generally disabling aspect of this surgery for a period of time, typically about four to six months, that we need to have high standards on what the results of the surgery are.  Shoulder pain remains common in 40 million Americans suffering from it.  Many of these people have rotator cuff tears, and we need to do further research to find out how we can best serve them.

February 08, 2011

ROTATORELIEVER in the South Bend Tribune

For Notre Dame grad, pain was mother of invention

The idea came to Dr. Michael Carroll in the middle of the night as he was tossing and turning in pain. His right shoulder was flaring up — again — and it was costing him another good night's rest.

In an attempt to ease some of the pain, Carroll, using his left hand, grabbed his right wrist and pulled it down along his side, which stretched his arm and helped with the pain.

He then used an elastic bandage on his wrist and tied weights on the other end to keep his arm in that position. It allowed him to comfortably fall back asleep.

"I slept in that crazy contraption all night," said Carroll, a 1991 Notre Dame graduate who started his own family doctor practice, Creekside Clinic, in Traverse City, Mich., 10 years ago.

Read the entire article here.

February 02, 2011

Dr. Carroll's Rotary Presentation

Dr. Carroll was recently invited to speak to the Rotary Club of Traverse City about the ROTATORELIEVER and his story.

The current Traverse City Rotary newsletter has a nice summary of the presentation.  Click here to download and read the pdf.

Here's a snippet:

Mike_rotary Physician, Heal Thyself
(and then pass the cheese, please)

“I have a passion for shoulder pain!”  That’s how Traverse City’s own Dr. Mike Carroll, inventor of the ROTATORELIEVER, kicked off his presentation on Tuesday.

40 million Americans share this same passion with Dr. Carroll – it’s hard not to be passionate about a pain that, unlike any other, is deep-seated and can endlessly persist for joyless days and sleepless nights.

As founder of the local YMCA’s popular lacrosse league, Dr. Carroll did what a lot of us aging athletes in denial do – he took up the sport again.  But rather than let the ensuing rotator cuff injury he suffered hold him back, on a sleepless night, out of exasperation, he fashioned a makeshift traction device from bandages to keep his  shoulder and arm extended down at his side.  (He actually tied one end of the bandage to his wrist and the other to the bed!)  

It worked.  Within days his pain had practically vanished.  The physician had healed  himself!

Click here to read the complete summary.