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Burjeel Hospital doctors fix paralympian’s shoulder

Severe rotator cuff injury could have ended elite athlete’s career

Gulf News

Dubai: A team of surgeons at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery in Dubai has successfully operated on gold winning Paralympian, Hany Abdul Hadi’s right shoulder.

A tear in his rotator cuff that could have potentially ended his career as an elite athlete, was repaired during the surgery.

Abdul Hadi, who has been a paraplegic since childhood, won the gold medal in powerlifting at the London Paralympics in 2012. He visited the Sports Medicine Clinic at Burjeel hospital in Dubai after sustaining an injury to his right shoulder while attempting to break the Olympic record for powerlifting at the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. During his attempt to lift 249kg, he experienced a sharp and intense pain in his right shoulder, causing him to abandon his attempt and withdraw from the international competition.

A series of detailed diagnostic tests, including an MRI, revealed that he had a large tear in the tendon in his right rotator cuff.

“We arthroscopically examined Abdul Hadi’s shoulder and found an additional injury [bucket handle tear] in the labrum, a piece of cartilage found near the rim of the shoulder socket. This had to be repaired arthroscopically,” said Dr Harold Vanderschmidt, Specialist Orthopedic Surgeon, specialised in arthroscopic surgery of knee and shoulder at Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery in Dubai.

The Paralympian was eager to compete in the upcoming Paralympic Games in Tokyo in 2020, and after discussions with his surgeons decided to go ahead with surgery to repair the injured tendon.

Dr Vanderschmidt, described the operation as “delicate”, explaining that a small incision was made — without cutting into the important deltoid (muscle located in the upper arm and shoulder) — to reach the damaged tendon.

“The tendon fibres were torn from where the tendon began near the humerus [the long bone in the upper arm] to the junction where it merged with the muscles,” he added.

The damaged tissue was then removed from the site followed by a micro fracture treatment.

“On further examination, the biceps tendon insertion and sling system was found to be intact, which was good news for the power lifter who needs stable upper arm anatomy to lift weights over 200kg,” he added.

Abdul Hadi’s incisions healed after 10 days and he was given a rehabilitation plan to support his recovery, which usually takes at least a year.

In the first six weeks after surgery, the athlete was advised not to use his shoulder muscles actively. Hydrotherapy was recommended as were passive motions such as electric muscle stimulation therapy.

After six weeks, he will move on to active movements and muscle training without any weights. Doctors at Burjeel Hospital will observe his progress over six months.