MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – Shoulder injuries are common, but now, there’s a way to reconstruct the shoulder without having to replace it.

When Joe Faraci fell while walking his dog, the pain was unbearable.

“My right shoulder was hurting before that, but I think that was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back,” says Faraci.

A closer look by surgeon Dr. Michael Kuhn with Orthopedic Associates of Middletown revealed extensive damage.

“The rotator cuff is gone at this point,” says Dr. Kuhn.

He confirmed a previous attempt to repair Joe’s rotator cuff failed.

“What happens to the shoulder when the rotator cuff is missing is the relationship of the ball and socket gets disrupted and so the ball tries to move out of the socket and causes pain,” explains Dr. Kuhn.Related Content: The health benefits of hot water

Shoulder replacement surgery was Joe’s only option until now.

Instead of replacing it with metal and plastic, Dr. Kuhn fixed the tear and reconstructed Joe’s shoulder with a graft using small incisions.

He says, “We’re actually able to put a graft in there and we restore the function of the shoulder, not necessarily the rotator cuff but the ability of the shoulder to maintain its normal relationships to allow Joe to improve his pain and improve his function — and restore his normal activity.”

Here’s how it works.

Dr. Kuhn says, At this point with the graft — fixing the defect. Now we’re really repairing it together with the remaining rotator. You can see this as it pulls this graft and the rotator cuff together – restoring that capsule of the shoulder and really restoring the integrity and function of the shoulder.”

It had a clear impact on Joe’s range of motion.

“This is about as far as I could lift my arm before I had the surgery,” he demonstrated.

Now, he’s showing more flexibility. “Mind you, I’m still going through physical therapy and it’s getting better,” Joe said

Dr. Kuhn says it takes about four to six months to see the full results.

The ideal candidate is an active patient with a rotator cuff issue who is between 50 to 70 years old.

The outpatient surgery is covered by insurance.

For more information, call Dr. Michael Kuhn at 860-347-7636