Putting away dishes was a real chore for Elizabeth Francis. Along with anything that required her to raise her arm.
“It hurt all the time, I couldn’t lift it. I couldn’t eat, I had to have somebody cut my food,” she says.
Her shoulder pain was due to arthritis and what she was feeling was the painful rubbing of bone-on-bone in her joint.
”People who just have arthritis but have a rotator cuff that’s in good shape they can do quite well with the more traditional total shoulder replacement,” says Dr. Todd Atkinson.
“But if you have a massive rotator cuff tear on top of the arthritis, reverse total shoulder replacement is the better option.”
The reverse shoulder surgery is considered a last resort operation. It is a relatively new procedure in which surgeons flip-flop the shoulders anatomy.
“Normally the ball is on this side and with the reverse shoulder replacement it goes on the other side,” says Dr. Atkinson.
The surgery alleviates pain as it reconfigures the joint.
“Instead of having bone on bone now there’s smooth metal rubbing up against the plastic,” Dr. Atkinson says. “Now the arthritis is gone and the ball is sitting downward where it’s supposed to sit.”
A year later, Elizabeth Francis has full mobility.
“I’m really fortunate, could you imagine never moving your right arm anymore?”