Monday, November 16, 2015

What Is Labral Tear Shoulder Surgery?

i'm no doctor and don't know all the specifics of the torn labrum that Michael Brantley had in his right shoulder. but i was curious and concerned and wanted to know what his shoulder surgery entailed. so i did some research online for the details and found an actual labral tear repair surgery on youtube. these videos explain the injury and surgery better than i could in words. again, i'm not sure what part of Michael's labrum was torn, so even if these videos aren't an exact duplicate of what Michael had done, they still give a general idea of the procedure that Dr. Morgan performed on Michael on November 9.

the surgery documented in the following videos was uploaded on September 26, 2011. it was conducted by Dr. Bradford Tucker at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point, New Jersey. Dr. Tucker is an assistant team orthopedic surgeon with the Philadelphia Phillies, so i think he's a very good source for an injury of this sort. this is a minimally invasive procedure, and i hope Michael's was done this way also.

warning: if you are a bit squeamish and can't tolerate looking at real human anatomy, i don't recommend watching these videos because they are graphic and show a visible labral tear in a man's shoulder.

Part 1 of the surgery:

Part 2 of the surgery:

Part 3 explains the surgery and recovery:

so basically, in layman's terms, it seems like he just stitched up the tear. as long as what Michael had was just a simple tear, which is what i'm going on because the Indians did not disclose anything further about the injury, then this should make his shoulder stronger and feel much better. after reading about some other people's experiences with torn labra and their subsequent surgeries, it sounds like this was really the best thing for Michael. still, i feel bad for him.

Dr. Tucker acknowledged that his patient would be in a sling for about 6 weeks, with no movement at all for 3-4 weeks, before actively moving his shoulder again by 6 weeks. and i assume the same will apply for Michael. since there were no details given about the specific type of sling used to brace the shoulder, i did more of my own investigating and discovered it's possible that Michael's sling has a body belt to ensure that there's no movement. Dr. Tucker also noted that the incision sites on the shoulder would be closed with stitches and steri strips, with the latter falling off when they're ready. now, if Michael had the more invasive surgery and his shoulder was cut open, then his post-op recovery may be a little different and/or longer.

as for rehab, Dr. Tucker stated that the labrum takes about 12 weeks to fully heal and athletes typically rehab for 4-6 months before getting back to playing sports. once the labrum is fully healed, if that was in fact Michael's only issue, then he will be able to get back to normal activities with no restraints. the doctor ended by saying there is hope after having this surgery. that was refreshing to hear.

James Quinlan, the Indians head athletic trainer, told the media that Michael won't swing a bat for 4 months, which would put him at March. then he will start rehabbing around the 5-month mark, bringing us to April. when he returns to major league action after that, however, is gonna be up to Michael and depend on how he feels. and that pretty much goes along with what Dr. Tucker stated in these videos. i think the fact that Michael is still relatively young will help his healing process as well.

if you're concerned about the lack of practice/play time with him not having a proper offseason and missing out on all of spring training, remember this: when Michael's back strain kept him out of half of last year's spring training games, it was okay. due to the simplicity of his swing, Michael has the ability to get ready for the season faster than others, which will additionally benefit him during his rehab.

the last thing we want Michael to do is rush and come back too soon. the Indians can't afford to have Michael with lingering pain for a second straight season. he needs to be strong when he returns. and if that means he has to miss the first 6 weeks of the year, so be it. other players are just gonna have to step up.

maybe the biggest question on Tribe fans' minds is [how] will the surgery affect Michael's stats and productivity? that cannot be speculated right now. it's scary to think that the swing that famously earned him the moniker of Dr. Smooth could potentially be altered. but i don't think that will be the case. all anyone can do at the moment is stay positive. i truly believe he will come back from this and continue on with what's quickly becoming an extraordinary career.

rest up and heal up, Michael. my thoughts are with you.

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