desio 7Dr. Stephen Desio is an Orthopedic Surgeon Board Certified in both Orthopedic Surgery, as well as Sports Medicine. Dr. Desio specializes in Sports Medicine and Arthroscopic Surgery of the Knee and Shoulder. Fellowship Trained in Sports Medicine at the University of Utah, Dr. Desio has the distinction of being a member of the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine, Arthroscopy Association of North America, American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Board of Orthopedic Surgery, and the American Medical Association.

His practice focuses on injuries to the shoulder and knee. Not only is Dr. Desio a 4-time Ironman Triathlete, but has also served as Team Physician for the Salt Lake City 2002 Winter Olympics, Worcester Tornadoes Baseball Team, New England Surge Arena Football Team, NCAA 1st and 2nd round Basketball Tournament, and University of Utah Football and Basketball Teams. Dr. Desio has published papers on Sports Medicine in Nationally Recognized Journals and presented his research at International Meetings. Dr. Desio is frequently named a Top Sports Medicine Physician by the Consumers’ Research Council of America.desio-group-photo-300x200

Dr. Desio is here to help you with your health care needs, from injury prevention to sports performance improvement. Whether or not you are a professional athlete, his approach to patient care has been the same: provide high quality individualized patient care in an environment that is warm, caring, and efficient. Advanced arthroscopic techniques and minimally invasive surgery are utilized when possible in the surgical treatment of injuries. Communication, courtesy, and respect are the cornerstones of his practice. 

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Rotator Cuff Injuries

Four muscles in the shoulder that when injured or damaged can lead to sleepless nights, pain, and weakness.

The most common ways of injury to the rotator cuff are trauma, such as a fall on the outstretched hand, repetitive overload to the tendon by activity, or bone spurs cutting into the tendon.

Symptoms commonly begin with pain over the upper arm that is worse with reaching overhead, lying on your side, reaching behind your back, and weakness.

The rotator cuff has a very limited capacity to heal on its own and therefore treatment is often required to improve symptoms. This usually begins with a short period of rest, followed by a rehabilitation program focused on mobility, and strength to improve function. Steroid injection can be used if significant inflammation is present and interferes with the ability to engage in the exercise program. Two thirds of patients will improve with these modalities alone, and thus this is the first phase of treatment.

If symptoms persist, MRI is utilized to evaluate the rotator cuff for tears. Most commonly injured is the supraspinatus tendon. This is the muscle that allows you to put on a jacket, reach into the kitchen cabinet and get out the dishes, put a gallon of milk in the refrigerator, or pour a pot of coffee. Because the tendon is spring loaded, full tears commonly separate or retract. The more the retraction, the more serious the tear. If these tears are not addressed, atrophy will ensue and the tears will frequently get larger over time.

Surgical repair is performed arthroscopically and consists of stretching the tendon back out to it’s attachment point and repairing it back to the humerus greater tuberosity that it pulled off from. Traditionally, the shoulder was immobilized in a sling for up to 6 weeks before starting physical therapy to protect the repair. The downside of this approach was a high rate of postop stiffness, called frozen shoulder. We pioneered an accelerated rehab program for rotator cuff 25 years ago that reduced this immobilization down to just 5 days and actually lowered to postop stiffness rate.

Quality of the rotator cuff tissue has been a major determinant of success of the surgery, as well as the recurrent tear rate. The larger the tear and degree of separation, the higher the recurrent tear rate – that can approach 50 percent!

Innovation in rotator cuff surgery revolves around the use of biologics to reduce the risk of recurrent tears. CuffMend is an acellular, dermal allograft that is placed upon the repair to effectively double the thickness of an atrophic tendon and reduce the risk of recurrent tears. We have been effectively utilizing this technology over the past 2 years with great success to enhance patient outcomes for the most serious tears.

We remain committed to utilizing the best technology to remain innovators in rotator cuff surgery.