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Complete tear of the Supraspinatus tendon

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  • Complete tear of the Supraspinatus tendon

    Hi all,
    New to this site, I guess you don't register unless you have an interest or injury.
    you can see from the Subject I have just got scan results back and I guess the critial line in amongst all the jargon is , "There is a complete tear of the Supraspinatus tendon, no tendon fibres can be seen".
    I am looking for any relevant info I can get, in particular any one else here who has had the same injury? , What treatment (surgery) did you recieve and what was the outcome?
    What concerns me is that I have only been to my GP and had a scan so far, go for another one tomorrow, and the injury is already 10 days old.
    I would have thought if the tendon is completely snapped then the sooner they can re-attach it the better (if that is possible) , will the snapped tendon shrink if left for any prolonged period?

  • #2
    Yep, if you are young enough to warrant repair (50% of 75 years olds have an unrepaired torn supraspinatus) then it would be good for the surgeons to do it within 3 weeks so it isn't too scarred down. I would try to get a referral to a shoulder surgeon ASAP.


    • #3
      get it done soon

      i had the same thing done but waited 3 months. for that i think the recovery took a lot shoulder was never the same. i still cant go over my head without pain. its been 3 years now and doc says thats the best its going to get. my advise is get it done soon and follow doc orders to the t. good luck hope it turns out well for you.


      • #4
        HI Guys thanks for the replys.
        I am in my 40s and have played a lot of sport over the years and still pretty active, so the doctor thinks it is worth operating on.
        ; )
        I have quickly come to the conclusion that there must be a lot of people with stuffed shoulders in Bribane.

        Just to update those interesed.
        My GP gave me a referral to one of the top surgeons here in Brisbane (I think he does the shoulders for the Brisbane Lions).
        I rang up to make an appointment and he could not see me for 2 months, (why don't the footballers have to wait that long?) I decided that was too long so rang around and booked appointments at 2 other shoulder specialists. The two who could see me the quickest, probably not the best selection criteria. One could see me in a couple of weeks , the other about 10 days after.
        Figuring that if anything happened I would have to rejoin the queue , and also in the event that if i didn't like the prognosis I could get a second opinion , I kept both appointments.
        Just as well, as the first specialist was called away to do emergency surgery about half an hour before my appointment. (some poor sod had cut half his fingers off).
        Another week later I get to see him, he orders an MRI and books me in to see him again in another 2 weeks.
        Getting sick of waiting and knowing the quicker the surgery is done the better the outcome , I go and see the second specialist which is now only 3 days later.
        The second specialist says we need to do something about it straight away and books me in for surgery this coming Monday.
        I ask about the MRI and he says what do you want that for and he doesn't need it, done hundreds of these ops.???

        So now we start getting into the minefield of getting second opinions.

        I guess the suggested surgical procedure is basically the same from both, but the first guy thought that there was more going on in the shoulder joint after moving it around a lot and listening to all the funny noises it was making (hence the MRI) , the second specialist didn't examine it as much and recons it's a pretty standard case?
        You can see the dilema, is one over confident? Is one over cautious?
        Both said it will take a long time to heal , but one said don't move it for 6 to 8 weeks and then we will see if you need physio, the other one said start physio the next day??

        I guess I will be going with the one who can operate the soonest.

        I feel like the astronaut on the first shuttle flight who said "the only thing that concerns me is that the cheapest quote got the job of building the shuttle". Prophetic words.


        • #5
          Hi Worried,

          I know exactly what you mean by minefield. I injured my neck/shoulder 14 months ago in a skiing accident (got hit by a halfwit who was going too fast at the bottom of a run & fell on outstretched hand.). During that time I have come across some excellent & not so excellent medicos.

          In terms of my shoulder injury, I also tore the supraspinatus tendon & am also in your age group (I?m 42). I was fortunate in that although it was a full thickness tear, it was not large enough to warrant surgery. I was unfortunate in that I developed a secondary capsulitus (frozen shoulder) as a result of the initial injury. This caused considerable pain, loss of movement/function & sleep! While it is now much improved, it will be 18 months + before it is 100% again. Rehab continues.

          Lessons I learnt during this time?

          1. Find out who the best possible shoulder people are & spend the extra money, and travel the extra distance (if necessary) to see them. In the end, it will cost you less.

          2. Be very diligent & consistent in your rehab (there will be times when you?ve had a gutful, but you just have to keep plugging away. It can also help to remember that there are always people worse off than you). I was a little concerned when I read your comment that one specialist thought physio wouldn?t be necessary. I?m not medically trained (sports science/coaching background), but seems like a recipe for a poor outcome to me. At our age & later the risk of frozen shoulder increases. My initial physio (AIS) drummed into me the importance of being diligent in rehab & provided awesome treatment (& I was diligent). Unfortunately I was travelling about 2 months into rehab & couldn?t find a physio that provided same level of treatment (I continued the ex?s) (I think that may have led to the frozen shoulder; my shoulder went rapidly downhill from there & the frozen shoulder was diagnosed. Another possibility is the initial post-injury period where it was kept fairly still ? couldn?t get in for x-rays, ultrasound until 7 days post-injury). Have since found excellent medicos in Sydney (I was working short-term in Canberra) & my shoulder is on the mend.

          This won?t help you, but for others reading who are based in Sydney or Canberra, I can highly recommend the following medicos for treatment of shoulder injuries:
          Sports physician ? Dr Seamus Dalton (NSOSM, Crows Nest, Sydney)
          Imaging ? Dr John Read (NSOSM, Crows Nest, Sydney)
          Sports physios ? Henry Wajswelner (AIS Canberra, also sees private patients); Joel Werman and Rebecca Toole ? Oval Physio and Sports Injury Centre, North Sydney)

          Good luck!!!


          • #6
            Shoulder Injury

            I can relate to all who have shoulder injuries. I injured both my shoulders 9 weeks ago, they both fully dislocated due to having a seizure in a motor vehicle accident. Thankfully no one else was injured except for me. I was rushed to hospital to have the shoulders put back in place, it was agony. I then had to return to the hospital the next day to see an orthopaedic surgeon.

            He reffered me to have MRI scans and Arthograms, this was the start of the waiting nightmare. I received a letter from the hospital a week later booking me in for the scans some 6 weeks later.

            I am on workcover and they advised me to phone around to see if I could get the scans done elsewhere quicker.
            I live in Newcastle and managed to get the scans done in Gosford 3 weeks earlier and then made an appoointment to see the orthopaedic surgeon. This took another 2 weeks.

            In I went with my scans and the news was not good. I was told I needed surgery asap and they would be in touch when the surgery was to be scheduled. After waiting 2 weeks and hearing nothing I decided to start chasing things up. Workcover also got involved to help out with the situation.

            Yesterday I was advised that the surgery will now not happen until late January next year. I am facing the likelyhood of being off work for at least another 5 months.

            I do not think that it is fair to have to wait so long, however I understand that there just are not enough surgeons available.

            I wish everyone who is experiencing the same problems, you are not alone.


            • #7
              shoulder injury

              Just came from the doc today, and after reading the threads, I'm afraid my shoulder may be done for. I took a fall in May, laid off of it for a month, hoped it would get better. It didn't. Here's the bad news from the MRI: "There is a full thickness complete tear of the supraspinatus tendon with approximately 3.5cm of tendinous retaction." Translation? I'm screwed. The doc thinks I've waited so long that the muscle is atrophied and surgery's a waste.

              Any hope out there?


              • #8
                Don't give up Goner, new advances in surgery are being made all the time, unfortunately for most of us they seem to be for the exclusive use of the rich and/or famous.
                Alisa Camplins recent surgury is a prime example, see here
                so how long did she have to wait for surgery and how available is similar surgery to the average Joe.
                Surely a similar operation can be done with the Supraspinatus Tendon?
                I am only guessing there obviously as I am in no way an expert.

                For anyone else out there my advice is to act quickly.
                The standard treatment you will get from a GP is to put you on non inflamatory drugs (NSAIDs) for a week and see how it goes, then if its still no good they will send you off for a scan and in my case a second scan, that is usually 2 weeks down the drain before they refer you to a shoulder specialist, and you can wait up to two months to get in to see one.. he will then probably send you for an MRI and and that will waste another week, two by time you get back in to see him again.
                The whole process is hopelessly prolonged, yet if my name was Darren Lockyer or Ricky Ponting or the like , they would be carving me up a day or two after I hurt it.
                In hindsight I should have rang around and found a shoulder specialist and booked an appointment before I even went to see the GP , then insisted he sent me straight for a MRI and give me a referral to the specialist I had found. This would have saved me 4 or 5 weeks lead time.

                Anyway I had my op 6 weeks ago this Friday, I am not sure how it turned out yet, only time will tell, my arm is still in a sling, but it moves around OK.
                I had incredible pain for well over a week and a lot of sleepless nights so I am not keen on having another operation yet if its not OK.

                Two things concerned me a little, firstly he started operating on patients at 8 am and he operated on me at 8pm that night and the operation took 2 hours (They discovered another torn tendon so it had to be sewn back together as well as the reattachment of the supraspinatus tendon), so what sort of form is he in after carving people up for 12 hours straight?? I know I couldn't work like that.
                Secondly this has cost me about $3000 so far on top of what Medicare and MBF cover and I had to pay up front. Not everyone has that sort of money lying around, but what price your health...


                • #9

                  Going through the same thing. Injured in hockey in Oct 05. Doc just wanted to do physio, and to this day still can't get full ROM. Had an MRI last week....still shows a tear with scar tissue. Going to see a "shoulder specialist" this Friday. Wish I could post the pic of the MRI to get other opinions.


                  • #10
                    Get a good surgeon!!!!



                    • #11
                      re shoulder injury[worried]

                      hi I am a 45 yr female who recently had an op for repair.I was sent to a very good doctor who said it needs doing and it doesn't matter how many scans mri's etc it is best seen with the eye firstly athroscopic and then if needed [WHICH I DID OPEN SURGERY]Once he went in he could see more damage than shown on any of my many scans.The worst thing is 6 weeks in an immobiliser sling 24hrs a day>i had mine off today and now have very little movement in elbow and shoulder>i start physio monday and they expect 6 months so dont expect a quick fix,Good luck with your op


                      • #12
                        injured shoulder

                        i went for an mri and was told that i have a fractured humoral head and torn labrum and if i get surgery without theraoy i wont be able to move the arm past 2 inches


                        • #13

                          hi, I just got back from having a ultrasound and scans on my shoulder which I hurt at work. I have a spraspinatus tendon tear and fluid around it. Anyone else have this problem and what did you do about it. I am worried


                          • #14

                            I just had a MRA done on my right shoulder and the result said this: There is a large focal full-thickness tear of the supraspinatus tendon with disruption of the majority of the anterior fibers of the supraspinatus tendon. The tear is approximately 2cm of anterioe posterior dimension and is associated with 2.5-3 cm retraction of torn tendon fibers. Some bursal-sided fiber to the posterior most supraspinatus tendon remains intact. There is prominate subacromial enthesophyte. The acromioclavicular joint is normal. The biceps tendon is normally located. No labral abnormalities are identified. No focal cartlidge abnormalities are seen The rotator cuff is otherwise intact. Now what does all this mean? My shoulder has been hurting for about 4 months now and I don't go to the DR until tuesday of next week I am worried. Has anyone here had this kind of problem and what did you do to correct it? I am in the dark on this one, Kathy


                            • #15
                              Hi there,

                              I wouldn't get too worried until you see your doctor. Sometimes things are mentioned in the scan report that you don't need to be concerned about.

                              Just try and keep your mind off it as much as you can.

                              Good luck !