For Robert Knight, 78, a retired air traffic controller from Elyria, Ohio, reverse total shoulder replacement has relieved excruciating shoulder pain and restored his ability to use his left arm. Knight fell off a ladder in 2006 and severely tore the rotator cuff in his left shoulder. He had arthroscopic surgery and a full open procedure, but doctors still could not restore his rotator cuff.
"I was in constant pain and couldn't move my upper arm," Knight recalls. "I couldn't use my left hand. To put my hand on the table, I had to lift it up with my other hand. I thought I was going to have to live the rest of my life with my shoulder the way it was. I had such terrific pain that I had to do something -- I couldn't take it anymore."
Then a friend saw an article about reverse total shoulder replacement and Knight decided to see if the procedure could help him. He turned out to be a prime candidate.
"Patients with a failed rotator cuff develop shoulder arthritis caused by cartilage rubbing on bone," Dr. Zanotti explains. "Many times, their pain and weakness get to the point where they can't lift their arms at all. These patients typically get cortisone injections, take pain medications for years and have been told, 'That's the way you've got to live.' Not anymore. Reverse total shoulder replacement allows us to fix shoulders like these, so patients' pain is relieved and they can lift their arms again."
"The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint; the rounded portion of the upper arm is the ball and a shallow, dish-shaped structure attached to the shoulder blade is the socket," Dr. Zanotti explains. "A reverse total shoulder replacement reverses the ball and socket -- that is, the ball portion of the replacement joint is attached to the shoulder blade and the cup, or socket, is attached to th
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