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Q. Please comment if my RTA injury is a permanent one.

Answered by
Dr. Atul Prakash
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Oct 21, 2017

Hello doctor,

I had an injury in an automobile accident. Please address if this is a permanent injury. I have an MRI and medical examination. Since the accident, I can no longer sleep on the left side or use the left arm under normal conditions without pain.

Dr. Atul Prakash

Fitness Expert Orthopedics And Traumatology Physiotherapy Spine Health


Welcome to

I have gone through all the six attachments including the MRI report (attachment removed to protect patient identity).

  • The MRI showed the presence of a partial thickness tear high-grade or tendonitis. This normally results in a painful elevation of the shoulder above the level of the shoulder itself. It can cause night pain and lying on the affected side to be uncomfortable.
  • You are 56 years old, and this can be a result of the accident. But, it is also seen commonly in people without injury from overuse in the six decades of life. This also could be the cause in your case. Hence, it will be difficult to prove otherwise.
  • Regarding the permanence of the injury, this type of injury usually does not heal by itself, and the next step will be an arthroscopic assessment and treatment with repair of the tear depending on the arthroscopic findings.

For more information consult an orthopaedician and traumatologist online -->

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Thank you doctor,

I had no pain in the shoulder prior to this injury in the automobile accident. So, I must assume I have an injury such as a tear, and not tendinitis as I did not overuse my arm in my six decades of life. How many surgeries could I possibly need to repair this and will I ever regain 100 % of my ability with that arm that I had prior to this accident?

Dr. Atul Prakash

Fitness Expert Orthopedics And Traumatology Physiotherapy Spine Health


Welcome back to

  • You will be advised upon seeing an orthopedic surgeon to undergo an arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder. This will involve a thorough examination of the shoulder under anesthesia, a good look inside the shoulder to address the tear both from the inside (articular) of the joint and outside (bursal).
  • Once the size and location of the tear have been visualized, then he would proceed to repair this.
  • Small tears will do well following the surgery. Large tears may need prolonged physiotherapy and immobilization in a sling between six weeks to three months.
  • The repair quality and the quantity of the torn tissue will decide the outcome and strength. But the pain relief is good following the repair in most cases.
  • Most people need only one surgery unless there are technical issues.
  • Strength is a difficult one to answer as this will be dependant on various factors as alluded above.

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