Dean Ambrose reveals he had a second surgery and an infection that delayed his WWE return

By Jason Powell, Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE wrestler Dean Ambrose spoke with The and revealed that he suffered an infection that required a second surgery on his torn triceps. “It’s good to get back out in front of people,” Ambrose said of his return to the ring. “I had a lot of frustration I needed to really get out that built up over the last eight months. It was a long, long period of time. Much longer than would have been anticipated. It was just one nightmare after another. It was a pretty challenging period of time to go through. I ended up having two different surgeries. I had this MRSA, Staph infection. I nearly died. I was in the hospital for a week plugged up to this antibiotic drip thing, and I was on all these antibiotics for months that make you puke and crap your pants…

“By the time I finally went and got the first surgery, my triceps was already starting to atrophy and look weird. I wasn’t able to flex my triceps for a really long time. And then the first surgery didn’t really, something went wrong in the process. Probably due to that infection. It’s kind of hard to say when that really even got in my body. This is a long answer to your question. But for a minute there, it was getting scary. By the time I got that second surgery, it was March, I think. My arm was so shrunken and skeletal that it was weird. I hadn’t been able to move it or flex it in so long that I was starting to get scared I wasn’t ever going to get it back. To go from not being able to eat my Froot Loops, to being able to get back in the ring and throw people around and throw punches and do everything back to normal, it was a very gratifying feeling.”

Ambrose also noted that his recovery time was originally scheduled to be only three to four months. “It looked good,” he said of the first surgery. “Before I went in for the first one, they were like, ‘OK, yeah, this is going to be a three- or four-month thing. You’ll jump right back.’ Once I woke up, they were like, ‘Oh man, this is going to be six months minimum. Because we went in there, and that thing was messed up. You beat it to death. It’s going to be a lot harder than you initially thought. But still, not so bad.’ They said they found traces of an infection during the first surgery, but they cleaned it out. I don’t know if it was in there previously, or if it came after. It could’ve been with me for years. I don’t know. But it was about six weeks or so after that I was like, this is not healing correctly.

“I didn’t have anything to compare it to, because I had never been hurt before. So I ended up going back for just a checkup. I thought I was just going to turn right back around and get on a plane and go home, and they were like, ‘No, you have to go in again for surgery like right now.’ I was like, ‘Oh, no.’ I had just kind of got through all of the stitches and all of that stuff. It was a giant mess. I just kept having to start back from square one.” Read the full interview at

Powell’s POV: Ambrose shares plenty more details in the interview, which is definitely worth taking the time to read in full. I can relate to some extent in that I ended up with an infection after back surgery. The pain prior to surgery was noting compared to the hell created by the infection (thanks in part to the a-hole surgeon who refused to acknowledge the infection, which a second surgeon diagnosed immediately using the same information the first surgeon had). Ambrose also addresses his improved physique and his new hairstyle in the revealing interview.


Readers Comments (3)

  1. How did that first surgeon not acknowledge your infection? Was it not visibly noticeable at the time? Did he not ask how you were feeling?

    • No idea why he wouldn’t. It was my second back surgery and I said from the start that something felt off following surgery. He kept telling me the second surgery would feel different so it was natural. I kept saying that I thought this went beyond that. I followed all the instructions (same as the first) and still got progressively worse, all the while he kept telling me that everything would be fine. It got so bad that I had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance because I literally couldn’t move without being in torturous pain. The second neurosurgeon looked at everything the first guy had access to and immediately diagnosed the injection and couldn’t understand why the surgeon who did the procedure essentially ignored it. I’m not a litigious person, but I did reach out to a couple of attorneys and was told that I’d have to prove malice somehow and it just wasn’t worth pursuing. It led to weeks of recovery, missed time from work, and an IV in my arm for 2 or 3 doses of medication each day to clear the infection. It was absolute hell, but fortunately I bounced back and haven’t had any major issues since then.

      • That’s a hell of an ordeal. I guess it’d be a tall order to prove malice, but I would think negligence would be a more realistic case to prove.
        At the very least, you’ve recovered and that’s the main thing to grateful for. Good on ya!
        Moral of the story: Always take a second opinion.

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