New Treatment for Rotator Cuff Injuries.
Doctors Use New Treatment For Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff injuries don't just happen to major league baseball players -- they send 5 million people to the doctor every year, and the risk of injury increases as we age. There's a new procedure that aims to relieve pain and restore movement by changing the way the shoulder works.
A bike accident left Jim Smith with a shoulder injury so painful he couldn't ride … or even raise his right arm.
"I was down to practically doing nothing," Smith told Ivanhoe. "I couldn't even trim bushes in the yard because I didn't have any control of my right arm."
A traditional shoulder replacement failed. Then, his doctor suggested something new -- reverse shoulder replacement. The normal ball and socket joint is replaced with implants that reverse the anatomy of the shoulder.
"The reverse shoulder replacement allows us to not only replace the joint that has become arthritic, but it puts the shoulder in a better mechanical position and changes the mechanics of the shoulder to allow people to elevate their arm," Bryan Wall, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at the Core Institute in Phoenix, Ariz., told Ivanhoe.
The surgery works best for older patients who have chronic shoulder pain, longstanding rotator cuff tears and arthritis. It doesn't work for everyone -- there's a risk of patients dislocating the shoulder joint after surgery or loosening parts.
"The best thing is, whatever I do during the day, no matter what I do, I don't have any pain in my right arm," Smith said.
The surgery fixed his shoulder so he could get back to doing his own fixing.
"I've worked pretty hard all my life," Smith added. "Now it's time to play!"
Hitting the road to a pain-free and active retirement.
The reverse shoulder replacement surgery generally requires a two-day hospital stay and a four- to six-week recovery, plus post-surgical therapy to restore full range of motion. Dr. Wall says younger patients are generally not good candidates for the procedure because they tend to put extreme stress on the shoulder joint.