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New Rochelle Patient Shrugs Off Pain Thanks To New Shoulder Procedure

Dr. Schwartz treats John Rimmer for acute shoulder pain.
Dr. Schwartz treats John Rimmer for acute shoulder pain. Photo Credit: White Plains Hospital

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- For John Rimmer, a 68-year- old New Rochelle resident who’d already undergone three separate shoulder surgeries, chronic shoulder pain was something he thought he’d just have to live with. That was until he met Dr. Michael Schwartz, a sports medicine, arthroscopic and reconstructive orthopedic surgeon at White Plains Hospital. 

Schwartz, a physician at White Plains Hospital Physicians Associates-Orthopedic Specialists which has offices in West Harrison and New Rochelle, is one of the few surgeons in the region who performs Superior Capsular Reconstruction, an innovative, new procedure for irreparable rotator cuff tendon tears.

“Rotator cuff tears are very common. However, there is a subset of patients in whom the rotator cuff tendon is irreparable or of very poor quality, and therefore, unlikely to heal," he said. "Usually their options are limited and offer lower success rates.” 

For Rimmer, his condition meant that performing simple tasks, such as gardening or walking his dog, would be difficult and painful. Prior to the availability of the reconstruction procedure, patients like Rimmer had to live with the condition or undergo an invasive procedure that replaces the entire joint. 

“Patients with this particular condition usually have chronic shoulder pain, which often does not respond to standard non-operative options," said Schwartz. "Or they’ve already undergone a surgery attempting to repair the torn rotator cuff tendon without success. So if I determine that they are a good candidate, this minimally invasive procedure can enhance quality of life and minimize pain."

After the procedure, patients follow up with their orthopedic surgeon for a period of four to six months and begin physical therapy one to two weeks after their procedure.

For Rimmer, the surgery was life changing. “Results for any orthopedic procedure can vary, but so far, patients have been quite happy with the results,” said Schwartz.

For more information, visit White Plains Hospital's website.