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LA Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant Suffers Rotator Cuff Tear

Deep into the third quarter in a game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant suffered what was later determined through an MRI scan to be a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.  “It felt fine when I went up, didn’t feel too good when I came down,” Bryant told reporters and bystanders after the game.  Further tests are needed to determine the extent of Bryant’s injury, but if it is determined that surgery is necessary to repair the rotator cuff tear, the likelihood is that he will be out for the remainder of the season.

Rotator Cuff Surgery Beverly Hills

The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder joint that provide stability and allow for movement of the arm.  Athletes like basketball, tennis, and baseball players are especially susceptible to a full or partial tear of one of the tendons, but anyone can suffer a rotator cuff injury at any time.  The tear can result from gradual strain or mechanical overuse over time, but can also occur suddenly as a result of a forceful strain or fall.

Treatment will vary from patient to patient and depend on the extent of the injury.  Partial thickness tears can generally be treated with a trial of conservative treatment which includes physical therapy. When a conservative approach fails and painful symptoms persist, arthroscopic surgery can be helpful in the form of a debridement (“clean-up”) for smaller tears or formal repair for larger tears. Full-thickness tears usually require surgical repair in active individuals since they do not have the capacity to heal themselves and tend to enlarge over time and worsen if left untreated.

Shoulder Arthroscopy Beverly Hills

Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive procedure that allows orthopedic surgeons to repair the rotator cuff with greater precision and generally less risk of complications and shorter recovery times than with traditional “open” shoulder surgery.
During the procedure the surgeon will make several small incisions around the joint and use a small surgical device with a light and camera attached to the end to get video images from inside the shoulder joint.

  • The benefits of arthroscopic surgery include:
  • Less “collateral damage” to overlying muscles and soft tissues
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Less scarring/better cosmesis
  • Less blood loss than traditional surgery
  • Less complications than traditional surgery
  • Greater precision and access to injury site

Stem Cell Treatment

By the time a rotator cuff tear occurs, the tendon tissue is often degenerated and in poor shape with less than an optimal blood supply. For this reason, the “biologically-disadvantaged” tissue is often slow to heal and may heal incompletely even after a perfectly executed surgical repair. Consequently, there is a lot of interest in modalities that can boost the healing response such as stem cell treatment. Stem cells can be procured from the patient’s bone marrow or adipose (fat) tissue or from a donor’s placental/amniotic tissue. Stem cells therapy can be performed in conjunction with a surgical repair with the intent of improving the quality of the tendon healing. Some individuals also try stem cell therapy for partial tears in an attempt to avoid surgery altogether. Stem cell therapy holds great promise for the future of medicine. As an added bonus, this “natural” approach has an excellent safety profile.

Contact an orthopedic surgeon in Beverly Hills

Are you suffering from shoulder pain or a strained or torn rotator cuff?  Contact Beverly Hills orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine expert Dr. Steven Meier today for a consultation at (310) 777-7845 or schedule an appointment online.

Next, read about What Is Jumper’s Knee?


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The information available on this web site is provided for informational purposes only. This information is not intended to replace a medical consultation where a physician's judgment may advise you about specific disorders, conditions and or treatment options. We hope the information will be useful for you to become more educated about your health care decisions.