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Torn Rotator Cuff Surgery at DMC


Jason Martin is a softball player who logs over 100 games a year, in leagues tournaments and even World Series appearances.


“We’re like weekend warriors,” says Martin. “We take it seriously. We’re competitive, in our uniforms, with our $300 bats. It’s a little difficult to get that point across and make it sound serious.”



While Martin and his fellow players are aware of the misconceptions others may have, they know one thing is true: playing sports with this level of dedication can sometimes lead to a serious injury. Martin knows this from experience.

“I dove for a ball in the outfield and came up short, and landed on my elbow. That’s when I felt it in my left shoulder – I couldn’t make the throw when I got up.” Fortunately for Martin, his wife, Mary, works for the
Detroit Medical Center, and knew right where he should go. “She said ‘Dr. Lemos, he’s the guy. He works with the Tigers. He does all their surgeries. He’s their team physician. He’ll take care of you and get you back on the field.’”


So Jason Martin visited Dr. Stephen Lemos, one of the DMC Sports Medicine Specialty Physicians. Besides being the team physician for the Detroit Tigers, Lemos also serves the same role for the Detroit Pistons. DMC Sports Medicine program also provides care to the Detroit Red Wings.


“We’ve learned a lot of things by taking care of the athletes and we’ve brought that to taking care of the general patient population,” says Dr. Lemos. “With Jason, his prognosis was a torn rotator cuff.”


Dr. Lemos was able to tell Jason precisely where his torn rotator cuff was located, and exactly what treatment for Torn Rotator Cuff was best for him.


The rotator cuff is made of four muscles, and has many functions. The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint, but in this case, the socket is very shallow; more like a saucer than a cup. The rotator cuff keeps the shoulder in place, so that the ball part of the joint doesn’t slide back and forth.


There are several muscles making up the cuff, allowing you to rotate your arm in many directions. When a patient has a torn rotator cuff, movement is restricted, and pain can be intense. Dr. Lemos recommended arthroscopic surgery to treat Martin’s torn rotator cuff.


In Martin’s surgery, visibility is easier, because Dr. Lemos is able to get a camera right where he needs it most. And trauma to the shoulder is less, because the muscles are not being separated to make room for the repair work. This also leads to a faster recovery and less post-surgical pain.


The surgery shaves away fragments of the muscle tear. A bioabsorbable suture is inserted, and anchored to the bone, which sutures the muscles back together. Successful surgery now means Martin moves on to rehabilitation.


The rehabilitation exercises don’t take much time each day, only about 20 minutes, but may takes months or years to complete. Completing them is important to keeping the shoulder healthy and avoiding damaging the repair.


Martin is a believer. “Do not hesitate to contact the DMC Sports Medicine Program and let them fix your sports injury. Through the whole process, it’s been great.”


Learn more about Torn Rotator Cuff.

Learn more about Dr. Stephen Lemos.

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