Orthopedic Opinion Desired Regarding Rare Shoulder Injury

Patient

Q: I have an infraspinatus large partial tear in my left shoulder. I am a 21-year-old female and luckily right-handed. About 10 months ago a nursing student improperly gave me a flu shot into my shoulder (instead of my deltoid). According to the surgeons who I have spoken with, the student likely injected the shot into my AC joint. I have had pain, discomfort, weakness, and limited range of motion ever since. I saw multiple doctors immediately after the incident, all of whom diagnosed me with bursitis. It wasn't until 2 months ago that I decided to get a fourth opinion. That orthopedist decided to ultrasound my rotator cuff and was shocked to find a tear. The tear was confirmed by two MRIs. One first surgeon told me that I could get surgery now. Another wanted to do a diagnostic arthroscopic procedure (due to the rare circumstances of my case). The final surgeon I saw told me to first undergo some physical therapy and to get a follow-up MRI in 3 months. I am hoping that I will be able to finish my senior year in college without undergoing surgery. However, I am also concerned about my partial tear becoming a full-thickness tear and experience subsequent muscle atrophy (which according to my surgeon is a possibility). I used to be a Division 1 cross-country runner. I have never had a physical disability before this incident. My question is: Have you ever heard of someone improperly receiving a vaccination that ultimately led to the development of a rotator cuff tear? The surgeons have hypothesized that the components of the flu vaccine may have caused an immune reaction. Honestly, I don't fully understand what that means. I am just looking to get more information and more opinions regarding my "rare" scenario.

Symptoms:  Left shoulder pain, weakness, limited range of motion due to large infraspinatus partial tear
Doctor

A:   This question is currently in queue and will be answered shortly by one of our doctors. In the meantime you may browse our library of answered questions by clicking here.

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