In July 2014, Chris R. was playing ice hockey and took a high check. Due to the severity of the impact, he ended up with an AC Joint Separation and his collarbone was protruding. Being active his whole life and now playing sports with his kids, he knew that he needed to have it looked at.

Chris consulted with 5 doctors (3 in Manhattan and 2 in Long Island), and he was shocked by what he heard. Besides hearing varying diagnoses that he had a grade 3, 4, or 5 ac joint separation, they all said that surgery was not in his cards. “You are not a professional athlete, so having an ac joint surgery is not worth it”, the doctors exclaimed. They also told Chris that he would not be able to use his shoulder for 6 months following the surgery. “Their prognosis was that without the ac joint surgery I would be able to have maybe 70% of the functionality of my shoulder, and with it maybe between 80-85%”, Chris shared. They told him that either way, he should change the sports that he has enjoyed his whole life.

Not being satisfied with the prognosis he received, Chris tried to see if he could make some changes and live with his shoulder separation. “I could not sleep on my right shoulder due to the amount of pain I was experiencing, so I tried to sleep on my left side. Every time I tried to make adjustments in my activities like learning to play hockey left handed, I still experienced constant soreness in my right shoulder.” One day the realization that he had to find a solution hit home when he could not even play catch with his son. After just 4 throws, Chris sadly told his son, “Joe. I am sorry, but my shoulder hurts. I can’t throw any more.”

father and son playing catch

Chris started doing research on the Internet. “I was looking for someone who specialized in AC Joint Separation repairs, a procedure that was based on clinical research, and using new proven technology”, Chris explained. He found Dr. Steven Struhl’s new ac joint surgery the Continuous Loop Double Endobutton procedure to repair an AC Joint Separation. As Chris continued reading about Dr. Struhl’s in-depth research, 11 year clinical study and his successful results; he knew that he had to meet with Dr. Struhl as soon as possible.

“I began to temper my expectations of what my abilities would be following the surgery. I went into this whole process that surgery was the last option.”, Chris shared.

During Chris’ appointment with Dr. Struhl, he was impressed with Dr. Struhl’s thorough evaluation using a real time x-ray, and Dr. Struhl’s optimism for a better outcome using his new ac joint separation technique. Dr. Struhl explained that he did not want to cut the collarbone unlike the procedure of the other doctors. “Why do we need to cause more discomfort by cutting into the collarbone?”, asked Dr. Struhl. After explaining in detail the process of his Continuous Loop Double Endobutton procedure, Dr. Struhl shared that one of the key reasons for his long-term success rate is that he uses a durable high strength material that will not fail due to it’s tensile strength being twice as much as that of a ligament. Therefore, using other ligaments or ligaments from a cadaver will eventually have a higher chance of failing over time. Dr. Struhl shared, “Judging by your lifestyle you will not be happy. You will never be content with just 60-70% of the functionality of your shoulder. With my Continuous Loop Double Endobutton procedure, your ac joint will be repaired with better results and a faster recovery.”

“Dr. Struhl made me feel confident due to his success rate with his ground breaking ac joint surgery. He answered every one of my questions, calls, and emails. No matter how many that I had. I never felt like I was just a number” Chris decided to move forward with having Dr. Struhl repair his ac joint separation without any hesitations.

“The surgery was a success with no side effects. My scar is ridiculously good and he did it all with a single stitch. You have to look closely to be able to see the scar.  I now have zero limitations and Dr. Struhl exceeded my expectations. I am back to weight lifting, ice hockey, swimming and throwing a ball around with my kids. I really cannot even tell that I had an AC Joint Separation”, exclaimed Chris.

Dr. Struhl is on the cutting edge and not stuck in old ways like other doctors, and I couldn’t be more grateful to Dr. Struhl and his team.

Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD