UK HealthCare

UK patient finds relief after 25 years of shoulder pain

Bryan Gibson, 54, finally feels healed after 25 years of shoulder pain. Photo provided by Bryan Gibson.
Srinath Kamineni, M.D., is an orthopaedic surgeon at UK HealthCare who specializes in shoulder surgery. Photo provided by UK HealthCare.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 26, 2024) — When asked to describe his pain on a scale from one to 10, there were no numbers that could describe the agony Bryan Gibson felt in his shoulder.

Gibson, who lives in Somerset, Kentucky, underwent six surgeries on his right shoulder before finally having hope that his recovery would be different this time.

Gibson was 29 years old when he had his first shoulder surgery after being stationed in Korea serving in the U.S. Army. He didn’t know that his surgery in 1999 would take him on a 25-year journey to find healing and pain relief.

Initially, Gibson underwent a capsular shrinkage on his shoulder. This is a surgery that tightens the loose ligaments and capsules of the shoulder joint. The procedure is typically intended for patients with very loose shoulder joints leading to dislocations.

“When I had my first shoulder surgery, it lasted about six months, and then I went back and they had to repair the rotator cuff,” said Gibson. “Then about a year later, I had already torn it again.”

This turned into a vicious cycle for Gibson. Constantly in and out of different surgeries and procedures trying to repair his shoulder. Overwhelmed with constant pain, his sleep was impacted, he couldn’t lift everyday items and he experienced numbness throughout his arm.

“I would stand in the shower for a long time and increase the water temperature just to try to get rid of some of the pain,” said Gibson. “I had ice packs, I would eat Tylenol and ibuprofen, whatever I could just to relieve the pain a little bit.”

Gibson was not feeling like his normal self while suffering from shoulder pain.

“It changed my attitude, of course,” said Gibson. “I would snap because I was in pain, but nobody understood the pain that I was in.”

Gibson was persistent in finding relief. After years of trying to treat his pain, he was willing to do anything to be healed – even if it meant a full shoulder replacement.

In March 2023, Gibson was referred to Srinath Kamineni, M.D., an orthopaedic surgeon at UK HealthCare who specializes in shoulder surgery.

“Dr. Kamineni grabbed a hold of my right arm and moved it around identifying the shoulder joint itself was good, but the tendons and ligaments and everything else in there were torn up,” said Gibson. “That was a real relief because everybody else that I was seeing was telling me that I was going to have to have a full shoulder replacement, which I was ready for.”

However, since Gibson is only 54 years old and lives an active lifestyle, Dr. Kamineni took a different approach to repair his shoulder.

“It brought me to tears, to be honest, because what I thought was going to be a shoulder replacement wasn’t and instead, he performed a life-changing surgery,” said Gibson.

Instead of a replacement, Gibson underwent a detailed revision shoulder stabilization with a partial rotator cuff repair.

“When I perform revision surgeries of this nature, I find it very important to first identify the relevant tissues that need to be repaired and mobilize them in their entirety, before deciding their reparability,” said Dr. Kamineni. “Making the right decision for any particular patient is vital. In this case, I removed the scar tissue and fixed the labrum and rotator cuff in place with anchors.” 

In April 2023, Gibson received his sixth and final shoulder surgery. He says he has never had a faster recovery. He now has more range of motion and less pain than ever before.  

“He broke out his wand and did something in my shoulder,” said Gibson.

 He can lift and reach things a lot easier now, and the pain is gone. He doesn’t have to worry about keeping his arm still or in a sling position all day, he can relax and keep his arm neutral.

It was a long journey to finding the right treatment, but Gibson never gave up on finding the right care. He advocated for himself and knew he wanted to maintain an active lifestyle.

“His motivation to get back to normal was a very important factor in his outcome,” said Dr. Kamineni. “The patient is always the most important part of the team for dealing with the problem and getting the best possible outcome. Seeking out the right physician and asking relevant questions increases the chances of success.”

Dr. Kamineni and his UK HealthCare team were able to help give Gibson his life back.

“He went in and he saw what the problem was,” said Gibson. “He figured out what needed to be done and fixed it, and my shoulder works great.”

UK HealthCare is the hospitals and clinics of the University of Kentucky. But it is so much more. It is more than 10,000 dedicated health care professionals committed to providing advanced subspecialty care for the most critically injured and ill patients from the Commonwealth and beyond. It also is the home of the state’s only National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, a Level IV Neonatal Intensive Care Unit that cares for the tiniest and sickest newborns, the region’s only Level 1 trauma center and Kentucky’s top hospital ranked by U.S. News & World Report.

As an academic research institution, we are continuously pursuing the next generation of cures, treatments, protocols and policies. Our discoveries have the potential to change what’s medically possible within our lifetimes. Our educators and thought leaders are transforming the health care landscape as our six health professions colleges teach the next generation of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals, spreading the highest standards of care. UK HealthCare is the power of advanced medicine committed to creating a healthier Kentucky, now and for generations to come.