Orthopedic Surgery

“I woke up pain free”: Words from an Emory Sports Medicine Center Patient

mskpatientThe two years of my life before visiting Dr. Kenneth Mautner at the Emory Sports Medicine Center were painful. I had moderate to severe pain in my right interior knee joint. My symptoms were stiffness, swelling and sharp pains while I was sleeping, walking and even driving!

Finally I decided to make an appointment with one of the largest and most visible orthopedic clinics in Atlanta. During my visit there, they took an X-ray of my knee and diagnosed me with early stage Osteoarthritis. The physician suggested I first use over the counter medication twice daily to treat the pain and occasionally receive cortisone shots to help with ongoing pain management. If that didn’t work, he said I would eventually need a knee replacement.

After getting this news, I was a little uneasy. I thought to myself, “There has to be another option besides daily medication that could hurt my liver, or surgery.” After much prayer and research, I was led to the Emory Sports Medicine Center. I watched several of the patient videos and marveled at the success stories, from different conditions like hip and knee to procedures like Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy and stem cell therapy.

Without hesitation I called and made an appointment to see Dr. Mautner! Once at Emory, Dr. Mautner ordered an MRI, which revealed a bad meniscus tear and early osteoarthritis. In May 2015, we started Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy, which took platelets from my blood and reinjected them back into my injured knee. The procedure took about 15 minutes and while it hurt, it was less painful than I expected.

The first nine days after the injection I experienced increased pain, but on the tenth day I woke up pain free and have not had any pain since! It’s amazing! The tissues around the joint have calmed and are not swollen. I have returned to my customary two-mile walk each day, and can go up and down hills and stairs. I can sleep and drive pain free.

I feel great and the treatment was worth every penny, which was minimal considering the wonderful benefits! Thank you Dr. Mautner and the team at Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Steve Alvarez
Patient, Emory Sports Medicine Center
Dunwoody, Georgia

Are you considering PRP therapy? If so, make sure it’s performed properly and with the right expert guidance. Learn more about why you should choose Emory Sports Medicine for PRP therapy.

About Dr. Mautner

mautner-kennethKenneth Mautner, MD, is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) with a subspecialty certification in Sports Medicine. He has a special interest in the areas of sports concussions, where he is regarded as a local and regional expert in the field. In 2005, he became one of the first doctors in Georgia to use office based neuropsychological testing to help determine return to play for athletes. He also is an expert in diagnostic and interventional musculoskeletal ultrasound and teaches both regional and national courses on how to perform office based ultrasound. He regularly performs Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for patients with chronic tendinopathy.

Dr. Mautner also specializes in the care of athletes with spine problems as well as hip and groin injuries.

Dr. Mautner currently serves as head team physician for Agnes Scott College and St. Pius High School and a team physician for Emory University Athletics. He is also a consulting physician for Georgia Tech Athletics, Neuro Tour, the Atlanta Ballet, and several local high schools.

When is Spine Surgery Necessary?

spine-surgery-chatIf you have experienced ongoing back or neck pain, you may have asked yourself at one point, “do I need surgery?”

Low back and neck pain are common conditions that can range from dull, constant aches to sudden, sharp pains that make it difficult to move. There are many causes of spine pain, including injury, ruptured discs and the normal wear and tear that comes with aging. Some diseases and spine conditions may also cause pain, such as:
– Arthritis
– Scoliosis
– Spinal stenosis
– Spondylolisthesis
– Spondylosis

Seek an evaluation from a spine specialist if your pain is severe or persistent. The good news is that less than 10% of patients who experience back or neck problems are candidates for surgery. Many spine conditions can be treated non-operatively, but if you’ve been told you need spine surgery, it’s important to have the proper information before making a decision.

On Tuesday, August 25, 2015, at noon EST, join Scott Boden, MD, director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, for an interactive web chat to discuss when you should — and shouldn’t — elect to undergo spine surgery. Sign up for the chat >>

Sign Up for the Chat

Related Resources
When Should You Consider Spine Surgery?
Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center
Should You See a Spine Specialist? Take our quiz and find out>>

About Scott Boden, MD

boden-scottScott D. Boden, MD, is Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Dr. Boden started practicing at Emory in 1992. During his fellowship at Case Western Reserve Hospital in Cleveland, Dr. Boden trained with one of the founding fathers of modern spine surgery, Dr. Henry Bohlman. A primary original researcher on bone growth factor development and spine fusion technology, Dr. Boden is also an internationally renowned lecturer and teacher and the driving force behind the Emory University Orthopedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH).

 

Dr. Boden’s Clinical Interests:
Dr. Boden’s areas of clinical interest include surgical and nonsurgical management of adult degenerative spinal disorders including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis in the cervical and lumbar spine. He was recently named in another Becker’s list of Top 50 Spine Surgeons in the U.S. and is a skilled surgeon with techniques of microdiscectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion, and laminoplasty.

The Road to Emory: Education
• Medical School: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 1986
• Internship: George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 1987
• Residency: George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 1991
• Fellowship: Case Western Reserve University Hospital, Cleveland, OH 1992

Personal:
Dr. Boden is the proud father of triplets who graduated first and tied for second in their high school class. He is also a baseball aficionado and coaches high school and travel softball teams.

National Recognition for Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

boden-scottIn the May 2015 issue of Spine magazine, a special review section highlights the 100 most frequently cited research papers on lumbar (lower back) spine surgery.

After reviewing more than 16,500 papers that matched the search criteria, the research team compiling the data determined 322 papers that were cited at least 100 times.

One of the top three most frequently cited authors was Scott D. Boden, MD, director of Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

“This [review] identifies those individuals whose contributions to the ever-growing body of knowledge have provided guidance and suggestions for further investigation,” says Samuel K. Cho, MD. Cho and his colleagues from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, performed the review.

Earlier this year, Dr. Boden was recognized in the highly regarded medical publication Becker’s Spine Review as one of the top 55 spine surgeons on the forefront of biologics & stem cell. Dr. Boden’s selection into this prestigious group was because of his work and research on spine fusion, spinal disorders and bone regeneration.

So what does this mean for patients? Dr. Boden, along with his highly-trained colleagues, are often recognized nationally and internationally for being on the forefront of research. The information discovered during research is communicated through research papers and publications and used to:

  • perfect and deliver outstanding patient care.
  • educate other physicians around the world.
  • train the next generations of surgeons and physicians.

Congratulations to Dr. Boden and all our physicians and staff at Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine for your tireless effort in delivering leading patient care.

To see an Emory orthopaedic, sports or spine specialist, complete our online appointment form or call 404-778-3350.

National Recognition for Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center

boden-scottIn the May 2015 issue of Spine magazine, a special review section highlights the 100 most frequently cited research papers on lumbar (lower back) spine surgery.

After reviewing more than 16,500 papers that matched the search criteria, the research team compiling the data determined 322 papers that were cited at least 100 times.

One of the top three most frequently cited authors was Scott D. Boden, MD, director of Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center.

“This [review] identifies those individuals whose contributions to the ever-growing body of knowledge have provided guidance and suggestions for further investigation,” says Samuel K. Cho, MD. Cho and his colleagues from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, performed the review.

Earlier this year, Dr. Boden was recognized in the highly regarded medical publication Becker’s Spine Review as one of the top 55 spine surgeons on the forefront of biologics & stem cell. Dr. Boden’s selection into this prestigious group was because of his work and research on spine fusion, spinal disorders and bone regeneration.

So what does this mean for patients? Dr. Boden, along with his highly-trained colleagues, are often recognized nationally and internationally for being on the forefront of research. The information discovered during research is communicated through research papers and publications and used to:

  • perfect and deliver outstanding patient care.
  • educate other physicians around the world.
  • train the next generations of surgeons and physicians.

Congratulations to Dr. Boden and all our physicians and staff at Emory Orthopaedics, Sports & Spine for your tireless effort in delivering leading patient care.

To see an Emory orthopaedic, sports or spine specialist, complete our online appointment form or call 404-778-3350.

Emory Spine Patient Story: “I wanted to walk down my long driveway – I can now.”

By Sara Dollar, Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center patient

Scoliosis PatientAt the age of 12, I started seeing a chiropractor. In my early teenage years, I was diagnosed with severe scoliosis. Doctors told me that by the time I reached the age of 45, I might not be able to breathe if the scoliosis got bad enough. My spine was shaped like a perfect “S.” I had my first surgery in 1977, followed by several more surgeries. Surgery after surgery left me in excruciating pain. I lived my life, but because my spine was stuck in a bad position, I walked crooked, I couldn’t stand up straight, I couldn’t walk my dogs, and I couldn’t walk five feet without my back spasming. I had become like a hermit crab.

In September 2014, I was referred to John M. Rhee, MD, a spinal surgeon at the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center, because I had a very delicate problem that my former surgeons could not handle. Dr. Rhee explained to me what could be done, and I was so excited that I wanted to have surgery on the same day as my office visit! But because my problem was very severe, and the required surgery would be complex, Dr. Rhee asked me to go home and discuss this with my family. I was so grateful for this! After much thought, I decided to have surgery – a lumbar osteotomy, which is a major operation done only at highly- specialized spine centers, like Emory, because of its complexity.

I had done so much research on Emory and Dr. Rhee that even before my first scheduled appointment I knew that I had made the right decision. I felt comfortable. Before I went into surgery, I made some goals that I wanted to attain after my procedures: mainly, I just wanted to live without pain. I am happy to say that Dr. Rhee helped me achieve this!

I had two planned surgeries to correct my severe scoliosis and kyphosis. They were done on January 22 and 23, 2015. Compression on the nerves had to be relieved along with fusion and correction of the deformed areas of the spine. My previous hardware had to be removed and repositioned properly, and a wedge of bone was removed from one of my vertebrae in order to realign my spine so I could stand up straight again. This was a major procedure because I had had multiple prior surgeries that left my spine severely deformed.

At my six week checkup, I was walking without any assistance from a cane, walker or person. I think I surprised Dr. Rhee with how well I was doing and how quickly I had recovered.

While I am still healing, I am not in any pain and am accomplishing all of my goals. I wanted to walk down my long driveway – I can now. I wanted to be able to walk down the beach – I can now. I wanted the freedom of walking into a store to grab some milk and bread without needing or using a shopping cart – I can now. When the time comes, I want to run after my future grandchildren, and because of my surgery, I believe I will be able to.

My advice to others considering spine surgery; do not be afraid, stop living in pain, quit suffering and get your good quality of life back. Surgery is not the answer for everyone, but if it is, I would not trust anyone other than the renowned spine surgeons at Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center. Thanks to them, I am living well and attaining my goals.

About Dr. Rhee

John Rhee, MDJohn M. Rhee, MD, is a Spinal Surgeon and Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery specializing in cervical spine surgery, lumbar spine surgery, complex spinal deformity surgery (scoliosis and kyphosis) and surgery for spinal tumors. Dr. Rhee is an active researcher and sought-after teacher/lecturer at the national and international level in multiple medical societies. He has served as faculty and been an invited lecturer at numerous meetings and courses on spine surgery. In addition, he has served as Program Chairman at numerous national and international spine surgery meetings. Dr. Rhee has also published extensively in a number of peer reviewed journals and books, and he has received numerous awards and honors. He is actively involved the training of international research scholars and other spinal surgeons and has been the author and editor of major textbooks on spine surgery techniques.

How Aging Affects Your Cervical Spine – Part I: Pinched Nerve

Pinched NerveThe cervical spine refers to that portion of the spinal column that is within our neck. This section of the spine has two essential roles: providing flexibility so that we can move our head up and down and side to side, and protecting the spinal cord nerves that pass through it. Cervical radiculopathy, or pinched nerve, tends to occur when the nerve roots are irritated or compressed by one of many conditions.

Cause

Cervical radiculopathy can occur in a wide variety of patients, with those younger than 50 tending to suffer as a result of disc herniations. Other than trauma or injury, degenerative conditions as a result of aging are the main cause of neck pain. As disks age, they lose height and the vertebrae move closer together, causing the body to respond by forming more bone—called spurs—around the disk to strengthen it. However, the spurs can also contribute to stiffening of the spine. Bone spurs may also narrow the area of the foramen and pinch the nerve root.

Symptoms

The primary symptoms of cervical radiculopathy include pain radiating from the neck into the shoulder, upper arm, forearm, or hand.  Sometimes the symptoms radiate into all of these areas, whereas in other cases, the symptoms may radiate to only some of these areas.  Other associated symptoms can include tingling and numbness.  In some cases, weakness of various muscle groups in the shoulder, arm, and hand may occur.

Treatments

Non-surgical:

Interventional treatments for cervical radiculopathy are generally attempted first and may include:

  • Physical therapy and/or exercise to help relieve the pressure on the nerve root. Stretching as many dimensions of the neck as possible is essential to maintain flexibility and relieve chronic stiffness.
  • Medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce swelling and pain and analgesics to relieve pain.
  • Use of a cervical collar, cervical pillows, or neck traction may also be recommended to stabilize the neck and improve alignment.
  • Injections of steroid medications around the affected nerve root, commonly known as nerve root or epidural injections, can be considered for pain relief as well.

Surgical Treatment:

If symptoms persist despite nonoperative care, or if there is substantial motor weakness, surgical treatment is recommended and generally has excellent outcomes.  In fact, cervical spine surgery generally has the best outcomes of any spinal operation.  Surgical treatment generally involves relieving the pressure off of the affected nerve root.  Depending on the circumstances, it may be performed either from the front (anterior) or back (posterior) of the neck, although the anterior approach is more common.

Some of the surgical spine procedures used to treat cervical radiculopathy at the Emory Orthopaedics and Spine Center are:

At the Emory Orthopaedic & Spine Center, our internationally-recognized spine surgeons research, pioneer and refine the most effective approaches to treating a variety of spine conditions.

Should you make an appointment with an Emory spine specialist? Take our five minute quiz and find out!

About Dr. Rhee

John Rhee, MDJohn M. Rhee, MD, is a Spinal Surgeon and Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery specializing in cervical spine surgery, lumbar spine surgery, complex spinal deformity surgery (scoliosis and kyphosis) and surgery for spinal tumors. Dr. Rhee is an active researcher and sought-after teacher/lecturer at the national and international level in multiple medical societies. He has served as faculty and been an invited lecturer at numerous meetings and courses on spine surgery. In addition, he has served as Program Chairman at numerous national and international spine surgery meetings. Dr. Rhee has also published extensively in a number of peer reviewed journals and books, and he has received numerous awards and honors. He is actively involved the training of international research scholars and other spinal surgeons and has been the author and editor of major textbooks on spine surgery techniques.

Related Resources

When Should You Consider Spine Surgery?

Spine SurgeryHave you been told you need spine surgery? If so, it’s reasonable to feel anxious or overwhelmed, which is why it’s especially important to gather appropriate information you’ll need to be an active part of the decision-making process. Below are a few things to consider before spine surgery:

  1. Over 90% of back and neck problems can be resolved without surgery. Nonsurgical treatments include anti-inflammatory medications, ice, heat, spinal injections and physical therapy.
  2. Rates of recommending surgery for the same problem vary widely in different parts of the country (and world), suggesting that the criteria for surgery are not always clear.
  3. Surgery does not benefit every type of spinal condition. While some conditions have a high success rate after surgery, others have less predictable success rates following surgery.
  4. 98% of all spine surgery is technically elective surgery, meaning it should be the choice of the patient, not something mandated by the surgeon.

Spine surgery is only needed in a small percentage of cases. Before surgery, it’s important to understand the likelihood of success, the possibility of residual or worsened symptoms, the risks of anesthesia, the risks of the spine surgery itself, and chances of recurrence in the future.

If your surgeon insists you must have surgery or has not discussed all of the points above with you, then you may benefit from a surgical second opinion.

In this radio clip taken during last month’s American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Annual Meeting, Dr. Boden shares more insight into spine surgery and when it’s appropriate. Listen>>

 

At Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, our spine surgeons and specialists are frontrunners in the research, development and perfection of the most effective approaches to treating spine, orthopedic, and sports medicine conditions, and our teaching other around the world to do the same.

To see if you may be a candidate for spine surgery, complete our spine quiz. Click to learn more about spine care at Emory, or call 404-778-7777.

 

About Scott Boden, MD

Scott Boden, MDScott D. Boden, MD, is Professor of Orthopedic Surgery and Director of the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Dr. Boden started practicing at Emory in 1992. During his fellowship at Case Western Reserve Hospital in Cleveland, Dr. Boden trained with one of the founding fathers of modern spine surgery, Dr. Henry Bohlman. A primary original researcher on bone growth factor development and spine fusion technology, Dr. Boden is also an internationally renowned lecturer and teacher and the driving force behind the Emory University Orthopedics & Spine Hospital (EUOSH).

Dr. Boden’s Clinical Interests:
Dr. Boden’s areas of clinical interest include surgical and nonsurgical management of adult degenerative spinal disorders including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, and spondylolisthesis in the cervical and lumbar spine. He was recently named in another Becker’s list of Top 50 Spine Surgeons in the U.S. and is a skilled surgeon with techniques of microdiscectomy, laminectomy, spinal fusion, and laminoplasty.

The Road to Emory: Education
• Medical School: University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA 1986
• Internship: George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 1987
• Residency: George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 1991
• Fellowship: Case Western Reserve University Hospital, Cleveland, OH 1992

Personal
Dr. Boden is the proud father of triplets who graduated first and tied for second in their high school class. He is also a baseball aficionado and coaches high school and travel softball teams.

Related Links

Spinal Tumor Symptoms & Treatment

Spinal TumorsTumors, whether cancerous (malignant tumors) or noncancerous (benign tumors), can develop and affect bones anywhere in the body, but when a tumor develops in or near your spinal cord or within the bones of your spine, it can be an especially serious condition.

Your spine is an extremely important part of your body as it holds up your head, shoulders and upper body. It also houses and protects your spinal cord and the nerve roots that control your arms, legs, and torso. The spine is made up of 31 small bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked on top of one another and make up the three sections of your spine (cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine) forming the natural curves of your back.

Your spinal cord runs through the middle part of the vertebra, which is called the spinal canal, and extends from the skull to the lower back. Spinal nerves branch out from the spinal cord through openings in the vertebrae, carrying signals between the brain and muscles.

The most common type of spinal tumor is one that spreads (a metastasis) from cancer arising in another part of the body, such as the breast, lung, kidney, prostate, thyroid, blood cells, or other tissues. Rarely, spinal tumors arise from the nerves of the spinal cord itself. Primary spinal tumors are those that arise from the bones in the spine – these are also relatively rare.

The closeness of a tumor to the spine and nerves that run through and between your vertebrae determines the severity of the condition. Tumors can compress and interfere with nerve function, affecting the messages being sent to and from your brain to the rest of your body. Since the spinal cord is relatively narrow, tumors within it may cause symptoms on both sides of the body. Tumors can also weaken the vertebrae, causing the spine to collapse and potentially cause pain or injure the nerves housed within.

Spinal tumors are different for each unique patient since they originate from different areas or develop from different cell types. Depending on where the tumor is, how advanced it is, how quickly it is growing and whether it is malignant or benign, symptoms and treatment options vary.

Common symptoms of spinal tumors include:

  • Pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of sensation or numbness (in the legs, arms or trunk)
  • Loss of bladder/ bowel control
  • Difficulty using arms or legs, inability to walk

Treatment for spinal tumors is determined on a case by case basis and may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy or other medications. If surgery is necessary, the goals are to stabilize the spinal column, relieve nerve pressure caused by the tumor, protect the nerves and spinal cord and remove as much of the tumor as safely possible.

For more information about spinal tumors and spine tumor treatment, visit Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center. Our world renowned, highly skilled, specialized and experienced team includes orthopedic spine surgeons, neurosurgeons, orthopedic oncologists and radiologists, all working together to diagnose and treat a wide range of spinal tumors.

About Dr. Rhee

John Rhee, MDJohn M. Rhee, MD, is a Spinal Surgeon and Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery specializing in cervical spine surgery, lumbar spine surgery, complex spinal deformity surgery (scoliosis and kyphosis) and surgery for spinal tumors. Dr. Rhee is an active researcher and sought-after teacher/lecturer at the national and international level in multiple medical societies. He has served as faculty and been an invited lecturer at numerous meetings and courses on spine surgery. In addition, he has served as Program Chairman at numerous national and international spine surgery meetings. Dr. Rhee has also published extensively in a number of peer reviewed journals and books, and he has received numerous awards and honors. He is actively involved the training of international research scholars and other spinal surgeons and has been the author and editor of major textbooks on spine surgery techniques.

Related Resources

Patient Video Story: Back to Life after Spinal Tumor Surgery

How to Train and Prepare for Summer Running Races – Join Us for a Live Online Chat!

Running Training Live ChatWhether you are a seasoned marathon runner or recreational jogger, it is important to train properly and know how to prevent injury.

If you are interested in learning more about preventing and treating sports and running injuries, join Emory Sports Medicine physician Amadeus Mason, MD, for an online web chat on Tuesday, June 9 at noon. Dr. Mason will be available to answer your questions such as:

  • Injury prevention
  • Stretching
  • Race-day tips
  • Symptoms of certain athletic injuries
  • Risk factors for athletic/running injuries
  • Treatment for specific sports injuries
  • When to visit your sports medicine physician

To register for the live chat, visit emoryhealthcare.org/mdchats! If you already have questions for Dr. Mason, go ahead and submit in advance so our team can answer during the chat!

Sign Up for the Chat

From surgical sports medicine expertise to innovative therapies and athletic injury rehabilitation, our sports medicine specialists provide the most comprehensive treatment for a range of athletic-related injuries. Visit our website to learn more about the Emory Sports Medicine Center.

Injury Insight: Manny Pacquiao’s Shoulder Injury

This past weekend’s boxing match between Floyd Mayweather, Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao may have been the most-watched pay-per-view event of all time, but all eyes are now focused on Pacquiao’s reported shoulder injury. Battling through the twelve-round fight with Mayweather, Pacquiao suffered further injury to his already ailing shoulder. Reports released this week confirm the athlete will need shoulder surgery to repair a “significant tear” in his rotator cuff.

Emory Sports Medicine’s Dr. Jeff Webb stopped by CNN to shed some light about Pacquiao’s injury, possible treatment options and recovery time:

What is the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and their tendons that wrap around the ball-and-socket joint of the shoulder, attaching the upper arm to the shoulder socket. These tendons allow you to move and rotate your arm in wide range of motion. When the rotator cuff tendons are damaged or torn, the shoulder may become unstable and cause pain.

What causes rotator cuff tears?

A tear in the rotator cuff is the most common cause of shoulder pain. Most tears occur as a result of wearing down, or fraying, of the tendons over time. Overuse of the muscles, especially in a person’s dominant arm, increases the risk of tearing. Lack of blood supply and bone spurs due to age are other causes. Shoulder injuries, such as broken collarbone or a dislocated shoulder, can also cause a rotator cuff tear.

What are the symptoms of rotator cuff tear?

  • Patients with a rotator cuff tear usually experience a dull ache in their upper arm and shoulder. Other common symptoms include:
  • Pain or discomfort when lifting and lowering your arm
  • Weakness with rotating your arm
  • Pain extending down to the elbow (but usually not further)
  • Neck pain on the side of the affected shoulder; Low dull headaches
  • With sudden tears, patients may hear a cracking noise and experience intense pain and immediate weakness in the upper arm

How serious is Pacquiao’s injury?

It’s hard to definitely comment without evaluating him in person, but reports of a “significant tear” can mean one of a few types of rotator cuff injuries, including:

  • Tendonitis: a condition in which the tendon is inflamed, irritated and/or swollen. Tendonitis is common in athletes and can occur as the result of tendon overuse, injury, or because of age.
  • Complete tear: when the tendon splits into two pieces, sometimes separating off from the upper arm bone.
  • Partial tear: when there’s damage to the tendon, or tissue, but it is not completely split.

In Manny Pacquiao’s case, the tear is extensive enough that surgery has been recommended. The goal of surgery is to treat his pain and restore the function of shoulder, preventing further damage to those tendons. While some patients can return to regular activities after six months, but in the case of professional athletes, especially boxers, we can expect the recovery time to be around nine to twelve months to allow for ample healing.

About Dr. Jeff Webb

Jeffrey Webb, MDJeff Webb, MD, sees patients of all ages and abilities with musculoskeletal problems, but specializes in the care of pediatric and adolescent patients. He works hard to get players “back in the game” safely and as quickly as possible. During his training and practice he has provided medical coverage for division I college football and other sports, multiple high schools, ballet, the Rockettes, marathons, international track and field events, and the Special Olympics. He is a team physician for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and serves as the primary care sports medicine and concussion specialist for the team. He is also a consulting physician for several Atlanta area high schools, the Atlanta Dekalb International Olympic Training Center, Emory University, Oglethorpe University, Georgia Perimeter College and many other club sports teams.

He is active in the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine and American Academy of Pediatrics professional societies and has given multiple lectures at national conferences as well as contributed to sports medicine text books.

Related Resources

At Emory Sports Medicine Center, our shoulder experts specialize in advanced shoulder procedures, including Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair, to treat and repair a wide range of shoulder injuries. Click to learn more about torn rotator cuff injury >>