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Candidates for Reverse Shoulder: September 09, 2011

“Normally the ball is on the side and with the reverse shoulder replacement it goes on the other side,” says Dr. Todd Atkinson, an orthopedic surgeon with the Lee Memorial Health System medical staff.

It’s not your mother’s joint replacement, but for people who are suffering from severe shoulder pain, a reverse shoulder implant might be the answer.

“An excellent option for folks that have two problems, one is severe arthritis in the shoulder and to is a massive rotator cuff tear,” says Dr. Atkinson.

The tear being a key reason to operate.

“When there’s big rotator cuff tear, the ball which normally sits in the center of the socket will migrate upward, the reverse replacement will bring the ball back down to the center of the socket where its supposed to be,” says Dr. Atkinson.

More common in older patients, the procedure is often a final grasp at regaining mobility.

“This is considered a last resort, sometimes they get to the point where the tendon is irreparable and the arthritis sets in and then this is performed,” says Dr. Atkinson.

This surgery is not for everyone, but for the right patient, the result can be like lifting a weight off their shoulder.

Elizabeth Francis was moved to action when she could no longer raise her arm, or cut her food.

“I know too many people who put it off and put it off and later on they get health issues and doctors won’t operate then and they’re stuck with it.”

She had the replacement, and got a new lease on life.

“It was night and day I could move and it didn’t kill me.”

Doing things backwards, so patients can move forward.