Charlene Linsalata loves being active. This includes doing things around the house and playing golf, but that wasn’t the case nearly two years ago.
“I was running and I didn’t clear the step,” Linsalata said. “I landed on the floor, on my shoulder, but I got right up because it didn’t really hurt.”
Linsalata quickly realized her left shoulder was in bad shape when she couldn’t lift her arm the next day. She headed to OrthoArizona where she met Dr. Shelden Martin.
“In comes this young man, I was scared to death and he said what he felt needed to be done,” Linsalata said.
She fractured her shoulder and Martin suggested she have a reverse total shoulder replacement. Candidates for this procedure are usually elderly patients.
“With this newer technology in the reverse shoulder, it’s still somewhat newer technology since it was FDA approved in 2004,” Martin said. “We’re initially doing it for arthritis type problems with bad rotator cuffs and we’re now expanding the indications for this procedure to include fractures.”
A reverse total shoulder replacement differs from a traditional replacement by switching the ball and socket.
The procedure works by screwing a smooth metal bone into the socket bone, a long metal stem is placed down the humerus and then a plastic socket is secured on top of the stem.
This allows for the deltoid muscle to raise the arm instead of the rotator cuff.
“In a fracture setting like Charlene had, we will try to reconstruct the boney tuberosity pieces around the upper portion of that stem and try to heal those components to the stem itself,” Martin said.
A patient will typically stay in the hospital one night, wear a sling for six weeks and then start physical therapy focusing on range of motion and strength.
“By three months, most patients have made major improvements and are probably 80 percent of the way, although they will still make improvements up to six months or even a year after surgery,” Martin said.
Linsalata credits her successful recovery to doing what Martin and her physical therapist told her to do to get the left shoulder working again.
“You have to do it the right way, the whole way,” Linsalata said. “I’m active and in a way, I’ve had no restrictions.”
“It’s probably one of the most game changing procedures we have in shoulder surgeries for decades and so for the right patient, it’s a great procedure,” Martin said.
A reverse total shoulder replacement can also be used to treat patients who have had previous rotator cuff surgeries and shoulder replacement surgeries that were not successful.
To see if you’re a candidate for this procedure, visit www.orthopedicarizona.com