For Viola Prince, the past four years have been a struggle. Everyday tasks became more and more difficult as the pain in her right shoulder continued to get worse.
“Sometimes I would lift something, and it would slip out of my hand. Then I started having trouble lifting it all the way up. Sometimes it affects my driving, so I use my left hand for driving most of the time. When I’m grocery shopping, if I know something is too heavy, I don’t even try to pick it up, or I use my left hand, or both hands. To avoid the pain, I compensate and work around it.”
After two rotator cuff surgeries and little improvement, Viola was referred to Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Stephen Lemos at the DMC Surgery Hospital. Lemos is one of the leading surgeons in the state performing Reverse Shoulder Surgery, a procedure for people who have severely damaged their rotator cuff, or for whom rotator cuff surgery didn’t work.
Lemos describes it this way: “For individuals that can’t raise their arm, that have pain and that are older, we have an answer for them now, which we did not have for years.”
In a regular shoulder replacement, the joint is replaced as it is situated in the original shoulder – the ball at the end of the arm bone sits inside a shallow cup located at the end of the shoulder bone. In reverse shoulder surgery, the replacement is reversed – the cup is placed on the arm bone, and the ball on the end of the shoulder.
This switch allows the strong deltoid muscle to essentially function like the rotator cuff, allowing people to raise their arm up again, and alleviating the pain.
Viola’s reverse shoulder surgery went very well, and at a follow-up meeting with Dr. Lemos, She is able to demonstrate that her should movement is much greater than before the surgery, and there is a reduction in the pain associated with the movement.
As part of her recovery, she goes to therapy three times a week, to help restore strength and movement. Her therapist coaches her in how to keep the motion loose and relaxed, and to slowly work toward a goal.
Two months after her reverse shoulder surgery, Viola was delighted to be able to pick things up, move her arm and shoulder easily, and be free of pain.
Dr. Lemos calls reverse shoulder surgery a miracle for patients who until recently had no other options, and were forced to live with pain.
To learn more about reverse shoulder surgery, or to connect with Dr. Lemos at DMC Surgery Hospital, or at his other office locations in Warren and Dearborn, visit his DMC profile, or call 888-DMC-2500.