Jeff Thomson, Total Shoulder Replacement | Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital

Skip to Content

Published on October 19, 2012

Jeff Thomson

Jeff ThomsonLocation: Burlington
Occupation: Principal
Condition: Shoulder
Type of Procedure: Total Shoulder Replacement
Procedure Date: July 2010
Hospital Stay: One night
Doctor: William T. Pennington, MD

Why did you choose Midwest Orthopedic Specialty Hospital?

Recommendation from a family member.

What was your pain/discomfort level?


What was your recovery time?

As of October, pain free.

When did you return to normal activity?

I could move my arm again one week after the surgery, recovery went really fast.

How were the doctors and staff?

Everyone was fantastic about addressing my concerns. The nurses were great. Dr. Pennington, the anesthesiologist and Dr. Pennington’s staff have all been impressive.

Full Story

Raising three young boys and working full time as a principal at an elementary school is not for the faint of heart. Factor in chronic debilitating shoulder pain and complications from a previous surgery and shake hands with Jeff Thomson. Or not. Jeff’s right arm caused him so much pain that moving it wasn’t an option.

“I slept with my arm hanging over the side of the bed and the mattress tucked under my armpit,” Jeff said. “That seemed to help me sleep.” Prior to his surgery at MOSH in July 2010, he lived with so much pain, he could barely raise his arm for three years.

“I taught myself how to do everything as a lefty,” he continued. “Being able to play catch with my kids was out of the question. I’d rate my daily pain at an eight or a nine on a scale of 10,” he said.

Five years ago and before MOSH opened, Jeff had a partial shoulder replacement at the age of 32. While he can’t pinpoint any particular injury that caused his shoulder pain, he has degenerative arthritis and has lived with pain since his college days. He’s been told he has the shoulder of a 70-year-old.

For six months following his first surgery – the partial shoulder replacement – Jeff was unable to move his arm. His arm was “asleep” and he could only move two fingers. He saw numerous specialists and was told the feeling would eventually come back. He also expected the partial shoulder replacement to last 10-15 years.

Two years post-partial, the pain was back and Jeff knew he needed total shoulder replacement. “I had a huge fear that my arm would be “asleep” again so i put off having surgery for another three years.” A family member suggested Jeff see Dr. William Pennington, an orthopedic surgeon at MOSH. Dr. Pennington suggested Jeff try physical therapy first and after several months of therapy, Jeff faced surgery with trepidation and fear.

“I was so scared of a repeat of my first surgical experience that i had with a different physician,” he said. “Thankfully Dr. Pennington and the anesthesiologist, Dr. Zimmerman explained everything to me prior to surgery, during my hospital stay and even called me at home post-surgery. Everyone at MOSH was fantastic. I had a catheter in my shoulder for a direct flow of pain medication, a special chair was delivered to my home to start my arm moving continuously, and I felt comforted and reassured every step of the way.

“One week following surgery I could move my arm again. My goal was to be pain free, shoot buckets and play catch with my boys. Today I would rate my pain at zero. I feel fantastic and am 100 percent certain that I made the right decision to have the second surgery at MOSH with Dr. Pennington. Physical therapy has been aggressive, which I like because the therapists have given me confidence in my shoulder again.”

A one-hour surgery wiped away almost two decades of pain for Jeff – another inspiring MOSH success story.

Share Your Story

To share your story, please complete our Contact Us form.

Connect with Us