Written By: Craig Raucher
I have written a number of articles and blogs over the years about having total knee replacement surgeries (I had both knees fully replaced), the critical importance of educating yourself on surgeries you may need; understanding anatomy or medical terms, doing your own research, finding the right surgeons and the right hospitals, understanding rehab, etc. Several of these articles can be found online at Bonesmart.org.
Relying on the advice of friends or relatives should be secondary to your full and complete understanding of your surgery, before, during and after.
You must educate yourself. The resources available on the internet, like YouTube, makes it very easy to be informed. When surgeons use terms that you are not familiar with, ask them to explain or write them down then Google them. Don’t shake your head as though you fully understand what is being said to you because in most cases the surgeon is speaking a foreign language.
We spend more time these days texting and on social media than on doing the essential homework on issues of personal health and prolonging life in a pain free manner.
With this in mind, I want to share with you a fantastic new product manufactured by Stryker (www.stryker.com) called the Subacromial Balloon (SAB) used for rotator cuff surgery. I speak from first hand knowledge as I recently had this operation and procedure done. While researching my imminent rotator cuff surgery I discovered this new product and I then found a surgeon who was proficient in utilizing the SAB. Because of my research, I found the right hospital to have the surgery done. The use of the Subacromial Balloon (SAB) has only been authorized here in the United States since 2021. However, this procedure has been in use in Europe for 11 years as of this article date.
The surgeon who performed my surgery is Dr. Gregory Montalbano based in Staten Island, New York. His practice is iOrtho (iorthomd.com) and the affiliated hospital is New York University Langone. This is the hospital’s separate orthopedic location. Dr. Montalbano performed an excellent surgery and his practice is extremely patient friendly and highly professional.
Dr. Montalbano is one of the best surgeons in New York. This is even more impressive since New York is where some of the world’s best surgeons practice. He is easy to speak with, forthcoming, innovative and highly respected. Dr. Gregory Montalbano was Top 5% of graduates in medical school and extensive experience with sports related injuries. How do I know all of this? I did my homework through my own research.
My Background: I am a 70 year old man that has played (and still plays) full court competitive basketball with men half my age. I play twice a week for 3 hours at a time. I am the Founder and Commissioner of one of the oldest basketball leagues in New York as we enter our 43rd year of continuous play (www.sibl.us).
I had both my knees replaced when I was both 58 and 60. I went through total knee replacement surgery so I could continue to play competitively.
Three years back I had a massive tear in my supraspinatus muscle (look it up) in my left shoulder. I also had other complications in my tendon and associated muscles.This was very painful and as time went on it got worse. When I tried to shoot the ball I would get radiating pain in my left shoulder and arm and my range of motion was limited.
As I began to research surgical options online by watching YouTube videos, I saw a new procedure for rotator cuff surgery in which they arthroscopically insert a small balloon into an area of the shoulder called the subacromial space. After inserted, the balloon is filled with saline solution. The balloon acts as a spacer or buffer and helps to diminish pain and help recovery. After about 12 months the saline solution dissipates and the ballon disintegrates.
Normally with this type of surgery the pain is intense, lasting for weeks and the rehab and getting back to full function can take 8 months plus.
I had this surgery on May 20, 2022 and had minimal pain post op and began going for physical therapy twice a week after 4 weeks and three times per week after 9 weeks. I am targeting mid October to begin playing competitively.
The Subacromial Balloon (SAB) as manufactured by Stryker Medical Devices is a highly effective and innovative product that provides tremendous benefit to any person with rotator cuff or shoulder muscle surgery.