Regaining Her Strength and Freedom With Rotator Cuff Surgery

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Lisa Miloshoff

Lisa Miloshoff knows the anguish of not having full control of her body. When she was 39, she suffered a debilitating virus, cerebellar ataxia, which attacked the part of her brain that controls muscle coordination. She fell a lot, slurred her words and eventually had to use a wheelchair. Finally, after a diagnosis and years of treatment and physical therapy, she re-gained her strength and freedom.

When Daniel Zanotti, MD, orthopedic surgeon at the University Hospitals Center for Orthopedics, diagnosed her with a torn rotator cuff at the age of 62, she knew she couldn’t lose her strength and freedom again. Surgery was her only option.

Benefits of Physical Therapy

In October 2019, she underwent a superior capsule reconstruction (SCR), a promising alternative treatment for irreparable posterosuperior rotator cuff tears. The arthroscopic procedure involves placing a donor graft to stabilize the ball and socket of the shoulder joint, as an alternative to open shoulder replacement. In Lisa's words, “My X-rays look like the Six Million Dollar Man; feel like the Bionic Woman."

"Lisa was having trouble doing daily activities. Additionally, she was frustrated and concerned that her years of hard work to regain function in her arm would be lost,” Dr. Zanotti says. “She worked extremely hard at her rehabilitation and was always positive that she would get her strength back. Her motivation is the reason she succeeds in life, and it makes us want to help even more patients like Lisa!"

Her prior illness taught her the benefit of physical therapy; she traded three days a week in the gym for three days a week of physical therapy, and she never missed a day in five months. Prophetic for the immune-compromised patient. "I finished therapy just as everything started shutting down because of COVID-19. I couldn’t have exposed myself to that,” she says.

Today she is pain-free and forever thankful. “He’s one of the best," she says of Dr. Zanotti. "Everyone knows Dr. Dan. He saved my sister’s foot 10 years ago, and I knew I was in good hands. He's more than a doctor. And his entire team is compassionate and empathetic. Any question I had they were great, from nurses to practitioners.”

She says she misses shopping most during the COVID-19 pandemic. But her shoulder will be ready when she gains the courage to go out. She says after all, it’s the little things that matter. She learned that a lot time ago.

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Whether you are an athlete with a sports-related injury or a patient of any age experiencing shoulder or elbow pain, we can help. With a specialized level of expertise, we help patients of any activity level return to the activities they enjoy – with an improved quality of life. Learn more about comprehensive shoulder & elbow treatment  at University Hospitals.

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