On the Road Again

Unique shoulder surgery serves dual purpose.

“We came down to Florida to visit our daughter for the Christmas holiday, and a couple days before Christmas, I went out for a bike ride, which is something I often do just to stay physically fit,” Ray states.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Ray Hanson

“While I was riding, I got to a spot where a car was parked across the sidewalk. In the process of going around the car and coming back up on the sidewalk, my front wheel hit a ridge or something, and I ended up doing a face and shoulder plant into the sidewalk.

“When I got up, some people there asked me if I was okay. I said, No, I don’t think I am, because I’d hit the sidewalk with the very tip of my left shoulder and the left side of my head. My head was actually okay, but my shoulder was not.”

The problem with Ray’s shoulder prompted a trip to the emergency room, where x-rays revealed Ray had broken his clavicle into four separate parts that were positioned in a way that would not make for an easy repair.

“One of the x-ray techs told me it was one of the ten worst clavicle breaks he’d ever seen, which I really didn’t want to hear,” Ray says. “They then recommended I go to Advanced Orthopedic Center to see about getting it fixed.

“Now this was two days before Christmas, so I wasn’t really sure what was going to happen, but they were able to get me in right after Christmas, and when they looked at my shoulder, they said, Yep, you’re going to need surgery.

One for Two

The doctor who examined Ray is Jason Mlnarik, DO, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating traumatic injuries. He discovered that Ray had suffered two such injuries during his fall.

“He had a bad clavicle, or collarbone, fracture at the very end of the clavicle, where it meets the shoulder blade,” Dr. Mlnarik reports. “He also had an AC separation, which means the collarbone was separated from the shoulder blade.

“That’s the same kind of injury that a football player getting slammed to the ground or a hockey player getting slammed into the boards often gets, and it causes the collarbone to spring up and the ligaments around the collarbone to tear.

“Most of the patients I see have suffered one or the other of those injuries. It’s rare that someone has suffered both, but that’s what had happened with Ray, so his case was a little unique, and the repair work had to be a bit unique as well.”

To repair Ray’s shoulder, Dr. Mlnarik inserted a plate that spanned the collarbone and pushed it back down into its proper position. In addition to holding the collarbone in place, the plate also allowed Ray’s torn shoulder ligaments to heal.

The plate Dr. Mlnarik used is designed primarily for use in repairing AC joint sprains, but in Ray’s case, it served the dual purpose of holding his collarbone in place so that it would heal while also allowing the ligaments to heal and reattach to the bone.

“The kind of clavicle fracture that Ray had is typically not operative,” Dr. Mlnarik educates. “But by using this very atypical procedure, we were able to treat Ray’s entire shoulder area and get it to heal, all with one surgery.

“And that’s important, especially for someone who is active like Ray. For active patients with these ligament injuries, this surgery is a good option because it allows us to restore the actual architecture so that the patient is not limited after everything heals up.”

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Ray is back on the road again following shoulder surgery.

“No Limitations”

The plate Dr. Mlnarik used in the surgery had to be removed four months later, so Ray did eventually undergo a second surgery. But by repairing both injuries with one procedure, Dr. Mlnarik allowed Ray to regain normal use of his shoulder.

“They told me right up front that the plate would have to come out, so I knew that was going to happen, which was fine,” Ray says. “In between those two surgeries, they did check-ups and x-rays to make sure everything was healing right, and it was.

“ I have full range of motion again and no limitations with my shoulder, so we’re back on the road again, heading back up the East Coast to visit my daughter in Maine, with a few stops in between for sightseeing and museums.

“I might not be doing that were it not for Dr. Mlnarik, so I’m really appreciative of all the great work he did. I’m even back riding my bike again and being a bit more careful, but I know exactly where to go if something happens – Advanced Orthopedic Center.”

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    • Advanced Orthopedic Center

      Whether you are a professional or collegiate athlete, an active retiree, a "weekend warrior," a high school football star or a hard-working employee anxious to make a difference, the Advanced Orthopedic Center is here to help you feel better a... Read More

    • Jason M. Mlnarik, DO

      Jason M. Mlnarik, DO, is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in traumatic injuries and other orthopedic-related problems. Dr. Mlnarik earned his medical degree at the University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine i... Read More