Fix For Torn Shoulder Tendons and Pain in Elderly – Loosen Deltoid Muscle

Torn shoulder tendons gimp shoulder mechanics and can lead to “chronic and
often unbearable pain, muscular fatigue, and severe functional disability”. A reverse prothesis and latissimus dorsi tendon transfers are a treatment but are extreme measures. A simple and effective treatment involves advancing the end of the deltoid muscle. 86% excellent or good results

J Shoulder Elbow Surg. 2010 Oct;19(7):1098-104.
Outcomes of distal deltoid release for symptomatic cuff-tear arthropathy.
Scapinelli R  abstract here

  • 22 elderly cases – mean age 73
  • Symptoms –  unremitting unbearable pain(10/10) at rest and with motion, often radiating to the distal deltoid and associated with severe movement restriction (abduction = lateral raise – often less than 45 °).  Strength poor.
  • Surgery – when end of deltoid released, it automatically retracts and is mattress sutured to new location 1.5-2 cm proximal.
  • Results – “Pain relief at rest and on motion was total in 16 of the 22 patients (72%; standard error [SE], 9.5 %) and partial without activity compromise in 4. They all were able to sleep comfortably and without the need for medication.”
  • muscle strength unchanged  in 12 patients and “slightly or moderately improved” in 10 patients.

Comments: This is a horrible disease.
The authors conclusions are mouthwatering:

  • Safe, easy, quick, well tolerated
  • Needs no special instrumentation
  • 1 day hospital stay
  • Immobilization only for a few days after; rehab simple
  • Complications unlikely

I hope news of this spreads quickly.

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