The marriage of medicine and technology has been a fruitful one. We now have many beneficial technological tools to aid us in diagnosing and understanding diseases. Unfortunately, too much dependence on technology alone can lead to misdiagnosis and mismanagement. An example of this is the over-reliance on Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (MRI), to make surgical decisions in rotator cuff tears.
The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles which stabilize the shoulder. With injury, one or more of the group can be partially or completely torn. Yet, this often does not require surgical repair to achieve healing and return to full function. Consider this: a study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery in 1995 showed that 34% of people with normal shoulder function have a torn rotator cuff visible on MRI! Of these, about half were complete (full thickness) tears! The percentage of men over 60 who have fully functional shoulders, but an evident rotator cuff tear on MRI, is 50%!
The article concludes by pointing out the potential hazards of the use of MRI scans alone as a basis for rotator cuff surgery, and argues for an accompanying thorough physical examination. For most patients with a rotator cuff tear, conservative management with exercise, Osteopathic manipulation, and Acupuncture is successful. We have also had tremendous success with PROLOTHERAPY. Please conact us before submitting to surgery for a torn rotator cuff!