Shoulder “Stronger Than Ever” after Surgery

Rotator Cuff Repair Gets Fireman Back on Full Duty

Fireman, Eric Dudziak, got a partial tear in his rotator cuff on the job two years ago. Workers Comp put him through physical therapy.  

He says, “I ended up at about 80%.”

Eric serves as the Fire Marshall and 80% got him back on call for occasional shift work. Then, in August of 2016, he was hauling some firewood while camping. He tripped and tore two muscles in his shoulder. “I couldn’t move my arm,” he said, “This time, I ended up in the ER.”

The ER doctor referred Eric to Dr. Robert Zanotti who saw Eric within a few days and scheduled a rotator cuff surgical repair 4 weeks later. The ER wasn’t the first time Eric had heard of Dr. Zanotti. Another fireman at work had his shoulder fixed by Dr. Zanotti at CFO as well.

“A guy I worked with recommended Dr. Zanotti to me back when I tore my cuff. He had the surgery and got back to 100%.”

The outpatient surgery went well, but Eric is allergic to opioids, so he struggled with pain after the operation. “The surgery went great, and I felt great for 18 hours after because of the nerve block, but when that wore off, I was in trouble.”

Luckily, a call into the office got Eric hooked up with a medication that helped ease him through that tough transition without opioids. After those first 3 days, Eric did well. And now, Eric reports that he is entirely pain free. “I have no pain now, and I can do everything.”

Eric credits the surgery, of course, but also the physical therapy for his returned shoulder strength. When he experienced the tear and did PT, he was able to restore much of his shoulder strength and range of motion. However, surgery and PT helped Eric completely recover.

“Before the surgery, when I had the tear and did PT, I got it to about 80%, but this time I’m 100%. I believe it’s because I did what I was told, and I didn’t overdo it. I gotta say, my shoulder is stronger than it’s ever been, and I’m about an inch away from complete range of motion.”

Although he felt better sooner, Eric gave his shoulder the recommended 6 months for full healing. “Now I’m back on full duty as of 2017. I’m still the Fire Marshall, which is light duty, but I can be on call, train, and do shift work with no problems.”

Just like his colleague who first recommended Dr. Zanotti, now Eric would also recommend him along with many of the other people involved in his recovery process.

“The Physician Assistant, Bob, was great, the hospital was great, and PT was great. Overall, my experience has been positive. I am very pleased and would refer anyone, in a second, to Dr. Robert Zanotti.”

Thanks for sharing, Eric. We’re pleased it’s going well and that you’re able to continue your important work for the community.

If you’re having rotator cuff issues, give Dr. Robert Zanotti’s office a call over at Center For Orthopedics:440-329-2800. Learn more about Dr. Robert Zanotti and shoulder repair, including the groundbreaking reverse total shoulder replacement at our main website:


Add comment Posted in  Surgeries ,Testimonials March 10, 2017

Back to Work in a Few Weeks with MAKOplasty


Ron Bakalar, aged 79, can’t remember when he first started having trouble with his left knee. But his now-late doctor, who originally diagnosed the loose cartilage, told Ron he wasn’t a candidate for knee replacement. Ron had been uncomfortable ever since, but knew since it wasn’t a bone on bone injury, he was going to have to live with it.

Then he happened to see a newspaper article about a seminar that Dr. Krebs was putting on for MAKOplasty Partial Knee Resurfacing and decided to go learn more.

The procedure allows a surgeon to target only the damaged portion of a patient’s knee. Robotic technology assists in both the design and implant of the partial replacement for optimal alignment, security and movement.  UH Elyria Medical Center is the only hospital in the area with Mako technology.

The MAKOplasty procedure is an FDA-approved treatment for patients who suffer from osteoarthritis in the inner, or medial, part of the knee.

MAKOplasty patients tend to fall into two groups:

  • Younger, active patients who find they can no longer run, play tennis and do the things they enjoy because of their knee arthritis.  
  • Older patients with arthritis. MAKOplasty is much less invasive than a total knee replacement. It’s an operation done through a very small incision—only two to three inches vs. eight inches for a total knee replacement—and it involves only an overnight hospital stay.

After the seminary, Ron thought: I could be a candidate for this. “I talked to Dr. Krebs and he agreed. I had the surgery this past November 30th.”

It went better than Ron could have ever anticipated. He especially appreciated the hospital therapist, Sharon Hill, affectionately known as “Sarge.”

“She did an outstanding job with me in the hospital. Then when I got back to my condo, the therapist came twice a week and that went really well too.”

Ron was able to start driving again after the staples were removed and was back to work shortly thereafter at his part-time job as a home inspector for First Federal. “Everything was handled so professionally. I was very impressed.”

So impressed that he would definitely recommend this procedure to others: “If you are uncomfortable and don’t have bone on bone issues, than absolutely. You should consider Makoplasty.”  And, he adds, “Dr. Krebs deserves an A+ for the surgery. I have had no problems. No pain. And I don’t need a cane to walk. I’m glad I saw that notice in the paper.”

Add comment Posted in  Surgeries ,Testimonials March 1, 2017

Lower Back Pain Basics


Lower back pain episodes, that resolve within 2 weeks, are typically caused by muscle strain or spasm. Even though this doesn’t sound serious, the pain can be severe. Strains, muscle spasms and other issues in the lumbar portion of the back are common because this area bears much of the body’s weight during walking, lifting, and other activities.

Problems arise when any part of the complex, interconnected network of muscles, nerves, discs and tendons become inflamed or injured. Sources of low back pain include strained or spasming muscles; irritated nerves; damaged bones, ligaments or joints; or issues involving disc degeneration.

Emergency Treatment

If you experience these symptoms, in conjunction with lower back pain, you should seek immediate treatment.

  • Fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bowel or bladder incontinence
  • Severe pain in legs or inability to bear weight on leg(s)

At Home Treatment

If pain is inconvenient, but not debilitating, most people start pain management and treatment at home. Most muscle inflammation and strain issues will resolve within 2 weeks of at home care. If you try these treatments and they fail to improve pain and mobility after 2 weeks, it may be time to consult a doctor.   

  • One or two days of rest for your back to minimize stress on the area.  
  • Application of ice and heat. Generally speaking, ice reduces inflammation and heat increases blood flow and relaxes muscles. Ice is typically recommended within the first 48 hours with heat used thereafter.
  • Over the counter pain relief medication ibuprofen, naproxen, aspirin or acetaminophen. Please consult your doctor about which is best and to confirm that they are safe for you to take.
  • Adjust sitting and posture to take stress off the lower back.
  • After brief period of rest, resume light exercise if possible such as walking short distances, gentle stretching and yoga or water activity.

Doctor Treatment

If lower back pain does not start to subside within one to two weeks, and continues to interfere with mobility and daily activities, consider seeking medical attention. Physicians can identify the source of pain and determine the best course of treatment.  Common treatments include, massage or physical therapy, prescription medications, steroid injections, and other pain management techniques. Surgical treatment is rare, but may be indicated for issues involving bone and disc degeneration.

If you have been suffering from chronic lower back pain for some time, consider a consultation with Dr. Berkowitz and his team at Center for Orthopedics. Call 440-329-2800.

Add comment Posted in  Back and Spine February 15, 2017

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