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March 04, 2021  
SHOULDER NEWS: Feature Story

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  • John Kerry Undergoes Shoulder Surgery

    John Kerry Undergoes Shoulder Surgery

    April 02, 2004

    By Diana Barnes Brown for Shoulder1
    Sen. John Kerry took a short break from his busy schedule this week for surgery to repair an old injury that flared up while he was campaigning. Kerry suffered damage to his shoulder while in Iowa this January when the bus he was riding on made a sudden stop, jolting its passengers. Kerry, who was standing at the time, had to brace himself unexpectedly, and tore a tendon as he did so. Wednesday's surgery, performed by Dr. Bertram Zarins, the head of sports medicine at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, repaired Kerry’s subscapular tendon. Though the surgery was done on an outpatient basis, Kerry will have to lay low at first, and adapt to a physical therapy regimen to ensure proper healing. Sources said he planned to take several days off this week to attend to his recovery before going back on the campaign trail. Kerry will wear a sling for a few weeks to protect his shoulder and keep him from overusing the joint as it heals. Zarins recently told the Boston Globe it would be several more weeks before he can lift his arms over his head without difficulty, but this is normal recovery time for such a surgery. The subscapular tendon is connected to the subscapular muscle, one of the muscles in a group of four that make up the rotator cuff, which governs shoulder rotation, including movements like waving, lifting things, or shaking hands. Surgery on some types of tendon tears, including Kerry’s, can be done using only a small incision, and though the surgery requires general anesthesia, it is rare that patients must stay in the hospital for more than a few hours after the procedure is completed.

    Last updated: 02-Apr-04


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