Fifteen years ago Eli B. suffered a shoulder injury when he went in for a tackle and his shoulder went numb. Being in his 30’s he thought to himself, “Everything will heal”.
Five years after his injury he was unable to play in his mens baseball league at his normal competitive level without experiencing shoulder pain. He then decided to have it looked at by a shoulder specialist that diagnosed him with a torn labrum. Eli decided to have surgery. Unfortunately, even after the surgery he was still experiencing shoulder pain.
Eli continued playing the competitive sports that he played his whole life. Three years later he was still experiencing the same pain and decided it was time to see a different surgeon. This surgeon said that the first surgery did not work and Eli then had a second torn labrum surgery.
Unfortunately following his 2nd shoulder surgery, Eli still suffered from severe pain and thought, “Something else had to be wrong.”
Following and an x-ray of his back, the doctor discovered that he had a significant separated shoulder. Eli thought that maybe that is why he was still suffering from shoulder pain due to an incorrect diagnosis. He decided to get it fixed so he could get back to his active life once and for all!
While Eli was living in Dallas, he looked into some of the top doctors and visited two different ones. The first doctor said, “Basically live with it.” The other doctor gave a number of excuses not to fix a separated shoulder, such as it being a complicated procedure with many challenges and lots of potential for unfavorable outcomes.
Being unsatisfied with the doctors’ recommendations, he continued his search and went to Plano, TX to one of the “best doctors” to fix his AC joint separation. He requested for Eli to have an MRI. During the follow-up appointment, the doctor mentioned that he had a dislocation in both of his shoulders. The doctor then stated, “Since you already had 2 shoulder surgeries, I am not going to do another shoulder surgery. We cannot fix your shoulder injuries without a high rate of failure”. Eli was shocked and could not believe what he just heard from one of the most highly recommended shoulder surgeons in the U.S.
I need my shoulder and a long-term fix
“I thought that if doctors can fix athletes, then they should be able to fix my shoulder.” Eli began extensive research. “How could it be so difficult to fix a separated shoulder and put the clavicle in the same alignment, and not have to hold it down with anchors.”
Search for the “best” AC Joint Surgeon
Eli did not care where he had to travel to in order to no longer experience severe shoulder pain and get back to living his life to the fullest. In fact the pain was so severe that he could no longer sleep on his right side. He was desperate to get the AC Joint surgery done. He researched for close to two months straight so he could find the right shoulder specialist to repair his ac joint and get it back into its natural state.
During his research he discovered how it was better to use an endobutton for an AC Joint Separation versus anchors, and watched Dr. Steven Struhl’s video Double Endobutton to Repair an AC Joint Separation. He narrowed his search for the top doctor down to five doctors spread across the US and one in Germany.
One morning while doing research he sent an email at 3 am to Dr. Struhl, and he was completely shocked when his phone rang a few hours later. Dr. Struhl called him back personally asking about the issues, and he explained to Eli what to expect. Eli shared, “I was blown away that he called me back directly versus getting a call by just one of his staff members.” Eli actually thought, “Really? Is this really Dr. Struhl? When I realized that it was him I thought that was the coolest thing ever.” Dr. Struhl explained that his AC joint and shoulder would be stronger than it was before. “I thought that was B.S.”. Then he realized that Dr. Struhl was confident due to his success rate with his ground breaking ac joint separation procedure, and the positive outcomes over the past 15 years. Eli shared, “Dr. Struhl is very personable and talked with me as a normal human being. He genuinely cares about his patient and his reputation.” Dr. Struhl explained, “The result of the surgery will be your own natural shoulder movement and you will be fine. “ Dr. Struhl provided all of the questions and answers to put Eli at ease.
The other doctors on his list that did finally get back to him did not make Eli feel as comfortable with their surgical technique nor their success rate.
Eli decided to have Dr. Struhl perform his double endobutton procedure to repair his ac joint separation. He went in for surgery and loved the staff. “Not once did I feel disenchanted or uncomfortable with the decision to travel all the way to New York City from Texas to have the ac joint surgery performed by Dr. Struhl.” He had the surgery on September 11th and it was successful. The incision was perfect and Eli was able to move his shoulder after 1 week.
“Being over 40, I realized that my body would heal differently”. Dr. Struhl did stress the importance of rehabilitation, to take his time and not to rush it. Three weeks later Dr. Struhl went with a “How do you feel protocol? Also, a rehab plan that was specific to me”, explained Eli. He was diligent in following Dr. Struhl’s instructions on his rehabilitation, and it paid off.
I can’t believe that I waited this long
He started throwing a football that November and the ball had a snap to it he was not expecting. More importantly he did not feel any shoulder pain. Also, he noticed that the other pain he sometimes felt in his neck due to compensating his throwing action was gone. Over time Eli realiz
ed that Dr. Struhl was right and his shoulder felt stronger than before.
This past April he started the new season of his competitive men’s baseball league. On a particular play he was playing center field and fielded a ball, threw a missile, it bounced once, and got the player out. He could not believe that it was so natural. “I had no pain in my shoulder. Nothing! It was just incredible”, exclaimed Eli.
That season Eli won 2 championship men’s baseball leagues in Austin, TX. He won it with the Yankees (men 40 and over league) and the other with the Rangers (men 30 and over leag
ue). “Apparently 6 competitive players did not get the memo to not take that extra base if they hit a ball near me. I threw rockets and got them all out!”
“I know that I am not going to be able to play competitive baseball forever, but being active and playing other sports like sand volleyball is important to me”, shared Eli.
“Doctors in Texas are supposed to be the “best of the best” and they are saying, “You can’t fix this” or “I should consider changing the sports that I play and they tried to limit what I enjoy which was unacceptable”, proclaimed Eli. “Dr. Struhl’s approach is to fix it now and challenge the status quo. He is easily approachable and is a phenom. He is not complaisant with his accomplishments and continues to move forward with technology. If I have another shoulder injury or a knee injury I would not even hesitate about flying to NYC to have him repair my injury. It is worth the investment. I know this from first hand experience.”
Posted on behalf of Steven Struhl MD