Steve Corneillier’s Successful Rotator Cuff Repair

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“At age 71, I can still do everything I did at age 21 except ski jumping,” said Steve Corneillier. In search of ‘that ski life’, Steve moved to the Rocky Mountains in 1975 and never turned back. Hiking, biking, golfing, ice skating and skiing – Steve has embraced all that the mountains have to offer.

Living such an active mountain lifestyle for so many years can begin to wear on the body. Steve has had 10 different orthopedic surgeries at The Steadman Clinic. In 2005, he had hip surgery. Since then, he has had surgery on both of his hands and wrists, a knee scope, a knee replacement, a lumbar discectomy on his back, and Dr. Millett has operated on both of his shoulders.

Steve first met Dr. Millett in 2006. Following one of his other surgeries, Steve was struggling with pain in his left shoulder. “The surgical nurse told me to go see the new surgeon in town, Dr. Peter Millett. Once I completed my recovery from my other surgery, I went in to see Dr. Millett. He repaired my left shoulder and now for 11 years and counting, my left shoulder has been perfect,” said Steve.

Unfortunately, Steve started having pain in his right shoulder in June of 2016. As the General Manager of Golf and Recreation at Keystone Resort, during the summer months, Steve would enjoy a few rounds of golf. “In the Summer of 2016, I golfed once. I could not swing my golf club without pain. I could not throw a baseball without pain. I knew I needed to go back to see Dr. Millett,” Steve said.

Steve’s symptoms of pain and poor function were caused from rotator cuff tear, biceps tear and shoulder impingement. While some doctors might have said Steve was too old for surgery, Dr. Millett carefully examined Steve and told him he could help. Dr. Millett felt that, despite Steve’s age, he would be a perfect candidate for the surgical method Dr. Millett developed for arthroscopic repair of the torn rotator cuff. This technique known as the Speed Bridge technique is now among the most commonly used method for rotator cuff repair worldwide. On June 15, 2017, Steve went in for surgery. Dr. Millett performed an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, subacromial decompression and biceps tenodesis.

Steve did great with his surgery, despite being a senior athlete, and he was diligent with his postoperative rehab. In a recent study, Dr. Millett found that arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs in senior athletes have symptom relief and overall positive rotator cuff repair outcomes. Pain relief and functional improvements were highly significant and moreover 77% of patients over the age of 70 who underwent arthroscopic rotator cuff repair were able to get back to sports and activities that they hadn’t been able to do preoperatively because of their injuries. Dr. Millett states, “Patients like Steve, even though they are older, do not want to live with pain or disability anymore. Now we know that rotator cuff repair in senior athletes can benefit them, so they don’t have to.”

Steve said, “Of my 10 orthopedic surgeries, the second surgery I had with Dr. Millett was the easiest post-op. Once the nerve block wore off, I did not take any pain medications. I religiously did my physical therapy as prescribed by Dr. Millett, and I’ve been going to the same physical therapist since my first surgery in 2005.”

When asked what he appreciated the most about Dr. Millett’s style of care, Steve stated, “The investment that Dr. Millett gave me made me feel like I was his only patient. He was truly sincere and honest with me, and his follow-up was also outstanding.”

“The advice I would give to patients is don’t wait too long. Get it fixed early!” said Steve. “Be religious about your physical therapy after surgery. Physical therapy is just as important as the surgery.”

Steve is now four months out of surgery and his range of motion is better than ever. His strength is back, and he can throw a football and the occasional snowball when the weather allows for it. “Overall, I’m extremely happy with the service, surgery and follow-up with Dr. Millett and his staff. Every surgery I have had at The Steadman Clinic has exceeded my expectations, and they’ve kept me on the mountain.”

While clinical studies support the effectiveness of these procedures, individual results may vary. There are no guarantees of outcome. All surgeries involve the risk of major complications. Before you decide on surgery, discuss treatment options with your doctor. Understanding the risks of each treatment can help you make the best decision for your individual situation.  Always ask your doctor about all treatment options, as well as their risks and benefits. Only your doctor can determine the appropriate treatment for your situation. The clinical information and opinions, including any inaccuracies expressed in this material by patients or doctor are not necessarily those of Peter Millett, MD and should not be considered as substitute for medical advice provided by your doctor.