Virginia man flies to Green Bay for specialized shoulder surgery
Aurora BayCare webcast archive sparked interest
When John Machonis started searching for an orthopedic surgeon to fix his shoulder, he wasn't planning on taking a trip to Green Bay.
While Machonis hoped to find someone near his hometown of Alexandria, Va., he had done enough research to know that he was more likely to end up in Washington D.C. or Philadelphia, both within 150 miles. After failed attempts to find a nearby option, the 60-year-old retired computer guru discovered a video archive of BayCare Clinic Orthopedic Surgeon Shawn Hennigan, M.D., performing an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair on YouTube.com.
"I think it takes a very confident surgeon to be willing to perform a complicated procedure like this live on the internet for the whole world to see," Machonis said. "I knew as soon as I watched it that I had found my answer."
For a while, it looked as if Machonis wasn't going to find a surgeon willing to perform the arthroscopic version. Some told him that he was too old, others that it was too expensive. That search ended when Machonis and his wife flew to Green Bay and saw Dr. Hennigan, one of a handful of orthopedic surgeons in Wisconsin with fellowship training in shoulders and elbows. During the clinic visit at Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Hennigan found Machonis to be a strong candidate for the arthroscopic surgery. The surgery was scheduled for the next day, so the couple wouldn't have to fly back to Green Bay for the surgery.
"We were able to provide an array of arthroscopy options," Hennigan said.
The surgery Machonis viewed on YouTube was broadcast live in October 2006, with more than 2,000 viewers looking on as Hennigan repaired a Green Bay man's rotator cuff. Since then, the archive has been viewed thousands of times on various websites including YouTube, aurorabaycare.com and OR-live.com.
"I was confident that Dr. Hennigan was the best surgeon in the country and he was going to provide me with the best possible surgery option," Machonis said. "I am looking forward to being able to pick up my 2-year-old grandson and lift weights after my shoulder heals."