Dennis Donnermeyer is no stranger to sports medicine. Dennis was one of the first employees hired at one of the leading orthopedic device companies, Arthrex. Not only has his career focused on sports medicine, Dennis has been involved in sports all his life. One of his greatest physical accomplishments was climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, which stands 19,341 feet above sea level!
In the Winter of 2011, Dennis fell while skiing and tore all three major ligaments in his AC joint, also known as a shoulder separation. The AC joint is located where the Acromion (part of the shoulder blade) meets the Clavicle (collar bone). This injury often results from a direct blow to the shoulder. At that time, although Dennis suffered a type 5 injury, which is one of the most severe types, he did not think surgery was the best option. “When I sustained my injury, I knew the success rate of AC joint reconstruction was not high, so I decided to hold off on surgery.”
Over the four years that Dennis lived with his injury, the torn ligaments in his AC joint led to severe pain and progressive shoulder dysfunction. As an industry insider, he was fortunate to know and have access to the top shoulder surgeons around the world. While attending the meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), Dennis learned about a new arthroscopic AC joint reconstruction technique that Dr. Peter Millett had developed. “Dr. Millett and his team were presenting the results of the new technique,” said Dennis.
The study performed at the Steadman Clinic and the Steadman Philippon Research Institute confirmed that anatomic coracoclavicular ligament fixation and reconstruction had advantages over other techniques and lead to better outcomes and less complications for patients.
Dennis and his son Brett heli-skiing Bobbie Burns.
“Arthroscopic, minimally-invasive AC joint surgery is something I had only dreamed about, but now it is a reality for our patients,” said Dr. Millett. “Faster recoveries and less complications are the goals.”
After hearing about the new procedure, Dennis reached out to Dr. Millett for treatment. Last year Dennis underwent an arthroscopic AC joint reconstruction by Dr. Millett. “I feel like I am the poster child for this procedure,” said Dennis. “At 3 ½ months post-op, I had full range of motion; at 6 month’s I had full strength in my shoulder. I now feel better than I have in years! I am very grateful to Dr. Millett and his team. Without his dedication to orthopedic research and innovation, I could still be living in pain.”
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.