Marshall farmer praises his “boy wonder” doctor

Kurt Bormann, MD, explains reverse shoulder surgery like there’s nothing to it.

“You put a prosthesis in the humoral shaft, you put a prosthesis in the glenoid, which is part of the scapula,” he said. “And how you do that depends on the arthritis they have or if they have a rotator cuff tear or a fracture.”

Sounds easy, right? Dr. Bormann, with Columbia Orthopeadic Group, does shoulder surgeries of all kinds about once a week.

The one he was talking about is for patients with severe rotator cuff problems who don’t have many other options. One patient who fit the bill and had the surgery is Mike Vogel.

Vogel is a 77-year-old farmer from Marshall, Mo. Father of six, grandfather of 13 and great-grandfather to one, his shoulders had taken a beating.

“I’ve been on a farm my whole life, except for my military service. That’s a lot of hard work, hay bales, feedbags, seed bags, you name it,” said Vogel. “My shoulders wore out. “

He’s had three rotator cuff surgeries, and after two on his right shoulder and one on his left, his family doctor said there was nothing else he could do.

“For a while there, we didn’t think there was anything we could do about it,” explains Vogel’s wife of 54 years, Fran. “He wasn’t a candidate for rotator cuff surgery again, so what are your choices?”

When it felt like Vogel was running out of options, his doctor introduced him to Dr. Bormann, a specialist.

“His personality just gives you confidence. The first time he walked into the room, I said ‘You’re just a boy, what do you know about shoulders?’” exclaimed Vogel of Dr. Bormann’s young face. “He said ‘Give me a chance and I’ll show you.’ That’s exactly what he did.”

Since surgery on his right shoulder on Dec. 1, 2011, Vogel has been calling Dr. Bormann “Boy Wonder.” The young doctor just laughs at the nickname, thankful that it’s at least a positive one. He said he gets that reaction often.

“They say, ‘You’re younger than I expected.’ It’s almost every day that there’s some comment about my age, ‘How old are you?’ ‘How long have you been doing this?’ I just try to be honest,” laughs Dr. Bormann.

He doesn’t mind telling them how many surgeries he’s done. After listening to him explain the process, most patients are comforted by his knowledge. His friendly personality shines as discusses how he can help and what the post-surgery expectations are.

Sometimes recovery is the trickiest part. Patients who have shoulder surgery generally spend a few nights in the hospital. The healing process is slow and often painful, but Dr. Bormann(here too) stays involved throughout the process.

He even called Vogel twice at home. Vogel still comes in every couple of months to show Dr. Bormann his progress.

They chat about farm life(moved this up a few words) during consultations and Vogel is certain to ask about Dr. Bormann’s son as he lifts and lowers his right arm.

“I can drive semis,” said Vogel of his return to the farm chores after surgery and recovery. “I can shift gears now and all that.”

“He can mow the yard,” interjects Fran. “There was nothing keeping him from mowing the yard before, though.”

It’s clear that she played a large role in his recovery too. She reminds him of how painful it was, but he assures her it was worth it. She said he slept in a recliner for three months right after surgery.

“The recliner chair had the lift on the right side, so I called the furniture store and they came out and put the lever on the other side,” tells Fran with a smile.

Since then, Vogel has done physical therapy and arm exercises at home. He’s regained his full range of motion, and he’s still improving.

“It’s great to see someone come back in three months or six months and showing me how they can move their arm and telling about how their pain has improved,” said Dr. Bormann. “That’s what makes it worth it.”

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