Dennis Ward and Dr. Bagby

Rotator Cuff Repair Alleviates Chronic Shoulder Pain

(Pictured) Dennis Ward, of Paola, with his orthopedic surgeon Christopher Babgy, MD

As a former roofer, Dennis Ward is used to feeling some aches and pains in his body. But, when a recurring pain in his left shoulder wouldn't go away, he decided it was time to do something about it.

"At first it would just hurt now and again, especially when I moved it in a certain direction," Dennis, of Paola, said. "But it kept getting worse. It felt like someone was touching a lit match to my arm, and it would last for hours."

Dennis went to Brian Cooke, MD, a family medicine specialist at Olathe Health Family Medicine - Osawatomie. Dr. Cooke referred him to Christopher A. Bagby, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Olathe Health Johnson County Orthopedics and Sports Medicine - Paola.

An MRI showed Dennis had two tears in his rotator cuff.

"Dennis had a history of chronic left shoulder pain and had failed a long course of conservative treatment," Dr. Bagby said. 

The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that helps stabilize and move the shoulder. A rotator cuff tear is a common cause of shoulder pain and disability among adults. A torn rotator cuff weakens the shoulder joint, which can make many activities of daily living, like brushing your hair or getting dressed, difficult or painful.

Rotator cuff tears can occur due to an accident or other acute injury, but most often they’re due to wear and tear over time. That was the case for Dennis.

"Dennis's MRI showed a retracted rotator cuff (supraspinatus) tear, and we recommended surgery to repair it," Dr. Bagby said.

As a Paola resident, Dennis was relieved when he found out he could receive the surgery not far from his home at Miami County Medical Center. He spent one night in the hospital after his surgery before heading home the next morning.

"Everything went well, and everyone kept me really comfortable the whole time," Dennis said. "Lisa, one of the nurses that took care of me in the hospital, even gave me a great big hug before I left."

Dennis went home wearing a special sling and started attending outpatient physical therapy in Paola a few weeks later. He is taking his time and letting his shoulder heal. Though he isn't back to full strength yet, he is happy to be able to go fishing without the pain he had before surgery.

"At my recent follow-up visit with Dennis, he was doing great and had minimal pain," Dr. Bagby said. "He was actively doing physical therapy for his shoulder and is happy with his results."

Dennis admits to feeling a little reluctant before having surgery, but says now he can't help but tell others how happy he is that he went through with it.

"I've probably told three or four people to go in to get their shoulder pain checked out," Dennis said. "When I was walking into my post-op appointment at Dr. Bagby's office, I saw a guy walking in wearing a sling. I held the door for him and said, 'Dr. Bagby's great, you've got nothing to worry about.'"

To make an appointment with Dr. Bagby, call 913-557-3800.

To see a full list of our orthopedic specialists in Miami County, visit olathehealth.org/mcmc or call 913-294-2327.

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