LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - When you think of a torn rotator cuff, you might often think of athletes. Yet, you might be surprised to find out, that's not who tears their rotator cuff most often.
"What we'll see around here, we'll see a rotator cuff tear like this gentleman, in someone who works," said Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Robert Hagen. "Their arm is out front or over head doing repetitive things every day. Heavy lifting, a lot of forceful use of the shoulder. Baseball pitchers, football quarterbacks can tear their rotator cuff, but not quite as often."
Denny Connor is a chemistry teacher at Delphi High School and said his shoulder has been bothering him for a couple of years. He said the wear and tear over the years makes it hard to play with his grandson, and with another grandchild on the way, he knew it was time to get the surgery.
"You don't want them to leave, but sometimes when he leaves, you think, 'Oh, I can see why,' because your shoulder is sore because you've been doing too many things with him that you probably shouldn't have done," said Connor. "You know, the wrestling, the lifting, the chasing and things of that sort."
Connor's not alone. Dr. Hagen said a torn rotator cuff is one of the most common surgeries he performs.
"I do probably three or four rotator cuff repairs a week," said Dr. Hagen. "So, that'd be maybe 150 a year."
Dr. Hagen said the rotator cuff muscles are what moves the arm up, down, and around.
He said over time, raising your arm up and down can cause bones, or spurs, to form from continuous pressure in that area.
Dr. Hagen said that's exactly what happened to Connor.
"He has a tear of that muscle right there," said Dr. Hagen. "So, when he goes to lift his arm up, this is not connected like it should be."
Dr. Hagen said in order to repair the cuff, he must first remove the spurs and trim off the undersurface of the bone. He said they then place an anchor down inside of the bone, and sew the rotator cuff muscle back to the bone.
The surgery itself only takes about 30 minutes, and patients will usually have to complete about six weeks of therapy.
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