Putting off treatment for injuries can make recovery much more difficult
Friday, October 9, 2020

There’s a warning from orthopedic surgeons: If you’re still putting off care that you need during the pandemic, especially if you’ve had an injury, the team at OrthoCincy says you may notice a tougher time in recovery, especially in those who have upper extremity injuries, such as elbow and shoulder injuries.

Dr. Brandon Kohrs is an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoCincy who specializes in shoulder and elbow surgery. The backlog of COVID-19 delays has put his surgery team in high demand, especially for procedures that involve a part of the shoulder called the rotator cuff.

“We’re seeing a lot more demand for those patients who have been putting those off for months and months on end,” added Dr. Kohrs.

His team can often perform procedures to repair or replace shoulder joints by going in through the back rather than the front of the shoulder.

“It’s what’s called a rotator cuff sparing approach. And what’s done there, you actually go between some of the rotator cuff tendons instead of cutting through them. The benefit of that is you can do early range of motion because you’re not waiting for that bone or tendon to heal, which can take up to six to eight weeks.”

For many who had to put off upper extremity repairs in this pandemic, he has a warning. Not only can a delay limit this type of rotator cuff sparing procedure, but to continued damage in the time of delay, slowing down the healing process.

“You can imagine the shoulder motion, how moving that up and down could limit and cause pain,” he said.

His warning now is simply that any procedure delayed can impact future health, but some delays might be critical for future function for life.“COVID-19 obviously affected everyone. Those people who needed elective surgeries because of significant pain had to wait for a long time. Not, there’s definitely a lot of people out there, who still need shoulder replacements who are in pain, who are having deficient motion, who need rotator cuff repairs.”

If that’s you, now is the best time to give yourself options.