Back in the Driver's Seat

Man working under hood of car

Frank Bombara is a "car guy" who loves working on classic rides like his '68 Camaro. But when he tore his rotator cuff at work, he had to hit the brakes on his hobby.

"It was tough for me to work on cars because I'm right-hand dominant, and that's the shoulder I had injured. I couldn't lift my arm over my head," said Frank.

After two surgeries to repair his rotator cuff, Frank still struggled with pain and lack of mobility. He learned he would need a shoulder replacement but had developed a severe staph infection from previous surgeries. "Because of the infection, most doctors just didn't want to take on my surgery. They were scared."

Frank searched online for a surgeon and discovered Dr. William Levine, Chair of the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as Chief of the Shoulder Service. From the very beginning, it was a completely different experience.

“Dr. Levine was great. He was so knowledgeable; he knew exactly what I was talking about and wasn't afraid of it. He answered every question I had about the infection and the replacement procedure. We talked and developed a positive plan for what we would be doing."

Fortunately, the staph infection was out of Frank's system when Dr. Levine performed the shoulder replacement surgery, and the procedure was a success. A year post-op and

black '68 Camaro

Frank's classic black '68 Camaro

Frank says he is thrilled with his progress and grateful to Dr. Levine for helping him set his expectations correctly. "He explained to me that our goal was to not be in pain; I had a lot of damage already to my shoulder, so I knew there would be some restrictions. And now, one year out, the pain is gone. And I can honestly say I have more mobility now than I did with the rotator cuff repair. The results are great."

He credits the entire Columbia Orthopedics team for his experience. "From day one, I was comfortable. Between Dr. Levine, the nursing staff, and the way everyone treated me throughout the procedure, I always felt comfortable."

Frank is back under the hood of his prized Camaro, doing what he loves. "I always felt like there's going to be a good outcome to this whole thing. And now, I'm back at it. I'm able to do the stuff now with my shoulder that I wasn't able to before. It's great."