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Sumita Bhattacharya

White Plains, NY
  • Sumita Bhattacharya in the photo 1
  • Sumita Bhattacharya in the photo 2
  • Sumita Bhattacharya in the photo 3

I went to Dr. Nawabi with shoulder pain almost exactly one year ago. I knew I had a rotator cuff tear from MRIs done previously and was not sure how to proceed. Some people I spoke to told me they had found relief from this condition by going for physiotherapy. I, too, had tried physiotherapy before coming to HSS, but I had not noticed any significant difference. Others told me they had benefited from surgery. But surgery for rotator cuff repair generally calls for a long recovery, lasting six months and beyond. I was extremely concerned because I am widowed and worried about how I would tolerate the surgery and who would take care of me afterwards. I decided to go to HSS, the topmost center for surgery and consult with the experts there. I found Dr. Nawabi on the HSS website when I looked for a surgeon who specializes in shoulder surgery.

After meeting with Dr. Nawabi the very first time, I felt comfortable putting my trust in him. He said to me that there was really nothing to be gained by waiting and procrastinating. What would be a shoulder repair at this stage might well turn into a shoulder replacement in later years. This is what he explained to me and it started making sense. I was 61 and I visualized myself going in with the same condition, only worsened, in my seventies or eighties.

My surgery with Dr. Nawabi went extremely well. He repaired my right shoulder rotator cuff and performed the following procedures:

Arthroscopic subacromial decompression

Right shoulder arthrotomy and tenodesis of long tendon of biceps

Right shoulder arthroscopy and extensive debridement

I was in the recovery room after my surgery and then went home the same day. I needed a strong painkiller only that first night. From the next day onward I was able to tolerate the pain with a pain reliever alone. After the first four or five days I did not require any more pain medicines. I had to wear a heavy sling and keep my right arm immobilized for 6 weeks. In accordance with Dr. Nawabi's recommendation, I used an ice-machine to relieve my pain and reduce inflammation for the first two weeks after surgery. This ice machine was wonderful! It was soothing and I used it repeatedly throughout the day. I extended my rental of the ice machine another week, so I used it for 3 weeks.

I went back to HSS two weeks after surgery and I was told I was healing well and given simple exercises to do at home. During my following visit, six weeks after surgery, I saw Dr. Nawabi and he was pleased with my progress. At this point I started physical therapy at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital which is close to my home in Westchester County. After three months of physiotherapy I took an international flight to India. I was fine. I continued physiotherapy while In India just so that I would not slack off from doing my exercises. In the spring I went back to see Dr. Nawabi for my eight-month follow-up and he cleared me for normal activity at this point. Of course, I will have to be careful for the rest of my life, but I feel I am not as worried doing my normal activities because I know my shoulder has been repaired and I am not worsening my condition by using my right arm. Yes, it had come to the point where I was hesitant to use my right arm for fear of causing more damage. My pain has decreased and I am far more comfortable using my right arm for my normal activities. I am glad I went to Dr. Nawabi for help. He has given me back my right and dominant arm and although I needed home health aides to help me immediately after surgery, I was able to bathe and dress on my own shortly after the sling came off at six weeks. It was a major surgery but everything went smoothly for me and I am extremely grateful to Dr. Nawabi and to Hospital for Special Surgery for providing me with such excellent care. Dr. Nawabi is an exceptional surgeon who is also warm, supportive and caring and I knew he was looking out for me at every stage. Thank you, Dr. Nawabi.

About the pictures I have included: the first one was in the recovery room after the surgery. The second picture is of me walking in the park, the fourth morning after the procedure. I am wearing the heavy black sling which I wore for 6 weeks. It was not comfortable but it was not painful either. I slept with it but found that using a soft Reader Pillow under my head and another pillow under my operated arm helped me a lot. I slept on my own bed every night. Because of the large Reader Pillow I used, I could sleep in my bed instead of on a chair. I am attaching a picture of the pillow as well. Another thing that helped me a lot was the Velcro shirt I bought online from. These shirts have velcro openings at the arms and are specifically designed for shoulder surgery. I bought a number of these before going in for surgery. I am wearing one of these shirts in the picture taken in the park.