The MRI report for my rotator cuff and scapula came in the mail yesterday. I’d asked for a copy to be sent to me as well as to my doctor. I put off opening it until after dinner. I had planned to wait until the following day, but the longer I waited, the more anxious I got. I decided it was better to just know, so I slit open the top and nervously unfolded the documents, squinting my eyes, breathing deeply as I made a conscious mental effort to lower my expectations.
I began to scan through, my heart sinking as I read about mild tendonopathy, no injury to rotator cuff ligaments or tendons, no arthritis of the arm or shoulder. But in the second-to-last item, I was finally handed the one thing I had been waiting for since last October.
The MRI showed an abnormal conformation consistent with a tear in the posteriosuperior aspect of the labrum, a piece of connective tissue that attaches the humerus to the scapula. Or, in English, the tendon that connects the top of my upper arm to the inside of my shoulder blade (the quasi-ball-and-socket part of the shoulder) is torn and unable to adequately support that connection.
If that is what’s caused my injury – and no reason to think it isn’t, at least not at the moment – there are some treatment modalities, of varying success, that I was able to locate after I eagerly entered this information in the search engine of PubMed. From what I could discern, the next step may be another MRI, possibly arthroscopic, or with contrast, or both, in order to confirm the diagnosis. If confirmed, since physical therapy hasn’t resulted in any improvements, the tear will probably have to be repaired with arthroscopic surgery. Once surgery has been performed, recovery takes nine to twelve months. And after all of that, a variety of different outcomes are possible, from complete recovery to permanent chronic pain and weakness. I will probably land somewhere between those two extremes.
So that’s the MRI. Now for the rant…