Tony Choi, M.D., F.A.A.O.S.

Dr. Choi is a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon specializing in shoulder and elbow surgery. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. He graduated college from Cornell University, received a Masters of Science degree from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and his Medical Degree from Southern Illinois University. He completed orthopaedic surgery at the University of Missouri Hospitals and Clinics. Dr. Choi then completed further training focusing on shoulder and elbow conditions at the University of Florida. He is an Illinois native and returned to his home state to practice. He has been at MOI since 2009 and was instrumental in bringing the reverse shoulder replacement to DeKalb County.

Practice Philosophy

My staff and I try to provide great patient care in a timely manner. I know a patient’s time is important, so my staff and I endeavor to streamline a visit as much as possible. We also understand that problems can be complex, and I strive to provide time so that my patients understand their orthopaedic problem, their various treatments options and tailor a plan that is suited for the individual. I enjoy seeing my patients get better whether we take a conservative or surgical approach to their care.

On Being Part of the MOI Team . . .

There is great camaraderie at MOI among the physicians and staff. I believe this stems from our ability as practitioners to focus on our sub-specialty interests. I spend my clinic days concentrating on shoulder and elbow problems and relying on my colleagues to focus on other aspects of musculoskeletal care. I think of our team as an academic practice in the cornfields.

In my free time

I’m an avid Chicago sports fan and Florida Gator football fan. I also grew up with a strong music background and played instruments most of my life. I enjoy saltwater fishing with friends. Most of all, I enjoy spending time with my wife and my two boys.

Spotlight: Rotator Cuff Injuries

Not all rotator cuff injuries are the same and not all injuries require surgery. Many can be managed with conservative care including cortisone injections and physical therapy with a great success rate. When there is a tear, the tears can vary from how long they’ve been there, the size of the tear, the tissue quality, the number of tendons involved. Oftentimes as I speak with my patients about rotator cuff problems, they have a look of horror as I mention “rotator cuff tear.” They will often know someone who had a repair and had chronic pain after the repair or had to have multiple surgeries on their shoulder that did not completely fix the problem.

The problem with rotator cuff tears and surgery is that not every tear needs to be fixed. There are many tears in low demand older individuals that injections and physical therapy is a good option. That does not mean that surgery is not an option. Many times, when a patient presents with shoulder pain, without an injury, and is closer to age 70, the rotator cuff has had a long time to undergo degeneration and while an MRI may show a tear, the findings are usually more chronic. The situation is very much like your favorite pair of blue jeans. After a while, the material around the knee becomes thinned out, and you start to notice a small hole, that then becomes a bigger hole. In this situation, a rotator cuff repair can be tried, but it does not always mean that the rotator cuff will completely heal. In cases of chronic tears, other strategies can be employed such as arthroscopic clean up of the shoulder to help alleviate pain, tendon grafts, tendon transfers and if 65 years and older, a reverse shoulder replacement.

For tears where there is a traumatic event with acute loss of function and pain, I would recommend seeing an orthopaedic surgeon as soon as possible to evaluate if the tendon acutely tore. In these situations, taking a wait and see approach to see if the pain will get better, may waste valuable time resulting in scarring of the tendon and increasing the difficulty of a repair.