My Terrible Experience with Shoulder – Bicep repair Surgery with Dr Bruce Moseley
Oh, this is going to hurt...

My Terrible Experience with Shoulder – Bicep repair Surgery with Dr Bruce Moseley

I’ll start out by saying this is my opinion of a failed right long head of bicep reattachment. I am not a doctor, or anything related to the medical profession, I am an enterprise software salesman – so i know little to nothing about medicine, surgery, etc. But I can give a layman’s timeline as to how this doctor ruined my life.

Physical fitness has always been a significant part of my life throughout the years. I was having a little pain in my right shoulder (nothing like now). My wife a Doctor of Chiropractic had a MRI done of that area and sent me to Dr Moseley since he is supposed to be one of the best in Houston to work on shoulders and upper arms. He gave me a cortisone injection in the bursa and said let me know how that works out. And in passing he mentioned that the MRI showed that my tendons were old and getting worn like an old rope going across a table edge.

During the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter on December 21st, 2020, we were taking pictures of the event and I heard a pop in my shoulder, later that day or the next when bathing i noticed that I had a whole in my upper right arm where there used to be muscle! My wife immediately scheduled a follow up visit ASAP (as she knew I would want to get it fixed). We were able to see him a week to ten days after the injury – surgery was scheduled for January 13th, 2021.

After the surgery things seemed to be going well, I started PT (following the doctor’s orders/protocol to a T). The PT went on for over 18 months at two visits per week. The only issue i had in PT was that the therapist had a challenging time following the doctor’s orders so I must find another therapist fast. I knew of Bill Case here in Houston and I got into work with him. That was a night and day improvement of the previous one (Jim King).

Bill Case was the only one that was honest with me telling me that no, that muscle will never fill in – it is what it is now… So, I immediately wrote up a review of Dr Moseley and wanted to post it to Google and anywhere else I could. I was talked out of that and to try and work with the doctor. So, I sent him the review and i gave him a chance to refute any of my points.

Below is the letter I sent the doctor through MyChart. Following that is his reply.

Dr. Moseley,
This is a review that I will be posting anywhere I can regarding my satisfaction with my surgery. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and waited a year to publish this. I am open to discussing if you have any interest in my thoughts after a year of PT, over $3,500.00 out of pocket (and I am sure much more with insurance payments figured in) and a great deal of disgust, pain, and disappointment.
Sincerely,
Christopher L Wall

Review of Dr Moseley and my experiences with a repair of the biceps long head on my right arm:

First let me state that Dr Moseley was highly recommended by everyone I knew (my chiropractor, several other orthopedic surgeons, and physical therapist). These were all individuals that I trusted, and I had the upmost confidence that the recommendations were honest and solid. This review is for anyone that is in the same boat as I was (torn long head of right biceps, impingement syndrome, and possibly some rotator cuff issues). I am now at the one-year anniversary of the surgery, and the arm looks horrible, I am still in pain, and I can’t use the arm to do anything but the lightest and simplest of task…. I wish I had researched more before this debilitating experience. For reference I am 57 years old, 6’2”, and 220 pounds. I used to compete in bodybuilding contest around 245 – 255 pounds, so I am not a weak person or a lazy person.

I’ll start off by saying I want to go through this review in 3 main categories; “Cosmetics”, Functionality, and Pain. Then I’ll try to give a honest and practical summary.

  • “Cosmetic” Repair:
    • Initial visit was for a ruptured tendon (long head of the biceps) on the right shoulder. He called this a Popeye arm and said you do not really need the long head of the biceps to function fully.
    • He explained to me that this was purely a cosmetic repair and that he could repair it, but the repair was not needed.
    • I had competed in bodybuilding contest when I was younger so I told him that the symmetry of my body was extremely important to me, and could he recommend someone who would be more willing to do the repair. He said no need, he would do the repair and while he had me on the table, he recommended to clean up the rotator cuff if needed as well and shave down the acromion bone to relieve the impingement syndrome. I agreed with his plan.
    • He said I would be back to full strength within six months or so.
    • Cosmetic end results are horrible/disgusting.
      • Arm still looks like a Popeye arm (huge chunk of muscle missing on the top outside of the biceps. So, the part we both agreed on (purely cosmetic repair) – he failed miserably on.
      • When I questioned him on whether it was still attached or not, he said it was, but sometimes he gets them too tight or too loose! Now if I told my customers that after spending all the money, I did on the surgery I would be fired!
      • I am still going to physical therapy twice a week a year later…
  • Functionality repair
    • I had nothing but issues trying to get functionality back in my right arm/shoulder.
    • He threatened manipulation under anesthesia. Of course if we go back for the original need for surgery it was a “cosmetic” repair to make my right arm once again look like my left arm – not for my shoulder and range of motion.
    • I have full range of motion back in my shoulder after a year, and I can “use” my right biceps, but that is about it.
    • f course I did not go in for a shoulder repair, I went into surgery with one goal – regain the symmetry between left and right biceps.
    • I still cannot sleep on my left side and let my right arm hang across my body without issues.
    • I am unable to perform normal task that once were simple. I am a software engineer, but on the weekends my family has a working ranch. I can’t help building or repairing fences anymore, I can’t split wood for the fireplace anymore, and I certainly cannot unload 50 pounds sacks of feed for the cattle! Even closing the car door with my right arm is difficult and painful (forget trying to close the tailgate on my Ford F-250).
    • And if we talk about my life as a software engineer – I no longer can use the mouse with my right hand or I will be in excruciating pain the next day…
  • Pain
    • I still have excruciating pain in and around the area where he anchored the tendon for the long head of the biceps (I was told that he anchored in the grove on the head of the humerus – I have no clue).
    • I used to be able to move things (furniture, TVs, computers, etc.) around in the house, but now I must hire someone to come in and do the simplest of things that I used to do on a daily basis…. (I had to pay a handyman $150 to take a coffee table downstairs as I had moved it up to a spare bedroom by myself prior to the injury!)
    • Pain is excruciating if I try to do anything with that arm. Menial task like taking the groceries in from the car are impossible for me to do with the right arm, can’t even pick up a 12 pack of diet Cokes or it will hurt the next day.
    • I was in Santa Fe, NM over the holidays and enjoy taking pictures with my camera. Camera and lens that I carried around one day weigh a little less than 5 pounds. My arm was so sore the next 2 days I could not pick up the camera equipment.
  • Strength
    • I was told prior to surgery that the recovery would take about six months and I would be back to speed and strength close to the same timeframe.
      • One year later and if I do attempt to lift weights with the right arm – I am at about 30% strength and functionality.
      • One year later I am nowhere close to being able to do any of the weights I used to be able to do in the gym. I have been “playing” with weights like 10-, 12-, & 15-pound dumbbells in physical therapy and the gym on my own. Where prior to the surgery I was able to curl 45 – 60-pound dumbbells!

This has been the most frustrating year of my life (two years now)! And I have regretted letting this doctor operate on me since I was able to see how disgustingly ugly my right bicep is, how I can do little to nothing with that bicep, and how I have lost all faith in getting any semblance of symmetry, functionality, or strength back.

The one thing that used to be my refuge from the world (working out) is now an activity that I hate the most due to the total disgust I have for the lack of a decent “cosmetic” repair. And it is remarkably interesting that while reading his bio on BCM’s website it states, “All musculoskeletal injuries in athletes, especially in the knee, shoulder, elbow, and ankle.” I guess he thought I was a fat old man vs an athlete.

I found it remarkably interesting that he and his OPA talked about all the famous athletes that decided not to do this same repair and kept on playing – funny thing is they were 100% wrong on the ones they discussed with me (NFL injury reports had no such injuries listed for the individuals they mentioned). And regarding one of the famous bodybuilders that he specifically mentioned, if he had taken the time to look it up, the injury was what ended his career – not that he kept on competing with a torn biceps long head! Correct facts are extremely important…. But then again, all doctors are about today is being the best salesman they can to get as rich as possible without caring for their patients.

I will finish by saying if you are referred to this doctor for a similar procedure – take everything he promises with a grain of salt and definitely get a second opinion! I used to be a happy-go-lucky person and trusted most individuals I meet/interact with, but this experience has changed my life in a negative direction and has made me bitter, mean, unhappy, and just generally miserable! If you ask my wife i have become mean ugly and not fun to be married to (and it all was in the last two years that I have become so bitter, but if you had a constant nagging pain in your arm and the doctor is giving you injections of cortisone in the shoulder, really???

His Response:

Mr. Wall, below you will find the reply to your message that you have sent to Dr. Moseley. We apologize in the delay in getting it back to you. Please see below:

Hi Mr. Wall, thank you for your message. Clearly you put a lot of time and thought into that, and I appreciate your effort in doing so. Please see my responses below.

  1. I am completely taken aback by your message. I have never had anyone express that level of dissatisfaction with my care. Medicine is a field where there is no way to precisely control outcomes, and that means that no matter how good of a surgeon or a doctor you are, there will always be some patients who aren’t 100% satisfied. However, your level of dissatisfaction is far beyond anything I have ever experienced.
  2. My primary goal as a surgeon is to have happy patients. In that regard I have totally failed you, and for that I am truly, profoundly sorry.
  3. This is the first I am hearing about this. The last time I saw you I thought you were recovering as expected and would eventually be fine. But I hear loud and clear about how dissatisfied you are, and if you are willing, I will do everything I can to make you better.
  4. Based on what I know about your shoulder, we should be able to make you better.
  5. If you want me to try and make things better, the next step is to see me in the office. I haven’t seen you as a patient in 7 months, and I can’t assess where things are and address problems unless I am seeing you in person. That visit will probably lead to another MRI, and possibly some other tests, but once we figure out what is going on we can decide how to move forward.
  6. I will finish by saying once again that I feel your shoulder can be better than what you are describing, and I hope that you come back to see me so we can get to work on that.

Thank you again for your message and bringing this to my attention.

Sincerely,

Bruce Moseley MD

So, after another MRI and some other test (nerve conduction test) it was determined that the tendon he was supposed to repair was too long, he claimed it stretched (I do not believe that as I did everything to his protocol in physical therapy)… He proposed another surgery to try and do a sub pec re-attachment. Which would be even more invasive than the first one and have a longer recovery period – and I thought 2 years was a long recovery!!!

I thought that was great news, but then I asked him if he was going to do his part for free since the first surgery was a failure and he wanted to “make it right”. Of course, he said no, full price – my first thought was you failed the first time, why in the hell would I let you try again and risk you just making it worse as the second and third opinion said.

This doctor is batting a 100% with shoulder surgeries in my family he ruined another family members shoulder also – unfortunately, we had the surgeries too close together for the second one to change doctors!

As a side note, I would really love to see the footage of my surgery and see if the OPA did the whole surgery or if the doctor was even in the room!

Just a few images to give everyone an idea of my mind frame:

When i had a good right bicep
Mr. Houston Contest
sugested second surgery cut needed.
Shoulder/Bicep suggested scalpel incision
close up of suggested incision for second surgery
Close up of needed incision

Needless to say, I am looking for a lawyer to see if there is any malpractice and looking for a good bicep surgeon to fix my painful destroyed arm – I could have down nothing and been better off and much richer as I had to come out of pocket a lot on this surgery!

My last communication with the man:

Hi,
I have a question for Dr Moseley. I had surgery on my shoulder/right biceps long head reattachment in January 2021, so a year and a half past surgery with one year of twice a week PT.

First, cosmetically the surgery was a failure and Dr Moseley and I have discussed it, but I do not have the finances for a second surgery for the same issue I originally saw him for treatment! Nor do I think that is fair – I mean I make a mistake in my business (multimillion dollar enterprise software that all fortune 1,000 use) we fix it – we fix it for free or cost of materials, not full price like he had never done any surgery and gotten a tendon way to long for the bicep to work!!!.

Second, I am in more pain now than prior to surgery – what do I do now? Do I just deal with the fact that I cannot perform tasks that I used to be able to (the grandkids ask me if my shoulder is ok so I can pick them up – I have to say no I can’t pick you up today, sorry. picking up a twelve pack of sodas with my right hand, picking up a case of water at Costco, or a case of sodas, driving/turning corners with my right hand, general chores around the house, etc.)? Should I go to a pain management doctor for relief? If so, can he suggest someone to see?

Honestly, I am at my wits end over this whole experience, but I would really like to be able to perform regular daily task without pain, any suggestions are welcome…. Looking back over the last year and a half, I really wish I had never had the surgery, I am worse off now than prior to having the surgery…

Thanks,
Chris Wall

You know I keep telling the doctor the pain is coming from a different area than he is treating (Bicep not Shoulder). A couple of images to show discoloration where the pain is coming from:

Discoloration for Arm
Discoloration for Arm
Discoloration for Arm
Discoloration for Arm
Discoloration for Arm
Discoloration for Arm
Close Menu