Somerset veteran finds relief at UK HealthCare after 25 years of shoulder pain

Vertical stil lof Bryan Gibson, a UK HealthCare patient


“The patient is always the most important part of the team for dealing with the problem and getting the best possible outcome.” — Dr. Srinath Kamineni


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.

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

Bryan 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, Bryan 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,” Bryan said. “Then about a year later, I had already torn it again.”

This turned into a vicious cycle for Bryan. 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 Bryan. “I had ice packs, I would eat Tylenol and ibuprofen, whatever I could just to relieve the pain a little bit.”

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

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

Specialized shoulder surgery

Bryan 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, Bryan was referred to Dr. Srinath Kamineni, 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 Bryan. “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 Bryan 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,” Bryan said.

Instead of a replacement, Bryan 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.” 

Free of shoulder pain

In April 2023, Bryan 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 Bryan.

 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 Bryan 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 Bryan his life back.

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

Topics in this Story

    Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine