Improving technology helping lower shoulder surgery risks

May 16, 2019 02:03 PM

More than 50,000 people will undergo a shoulder replacement this year. That number has climbed over the past decade as technology has improved.

That means a shorter recovery time and less chance for complications.


"I mowed the lawn, which consists of about four acres and I've got about 55 trees that I have to weed wack around," said Roger McClaine.

The 67-year-old man is no stranger to hard work – spending most of his adult life working in construction. That led to severe arthritis in his right shoulder.

"It wasn't so much the pain, but it was the motion. The pain was diminished because the motion was gone," he explained.

So a year ago, the Duanesburg resident underwent a shoulder replacement – but not the traditional surgery.

"Instead of cutting this ball off at all, what it does is reshape it back to the normal shape of the patients shoulder removing any of the arthritis that's there and any leftover cartilage and then capping this metal piece on for a nice smooth surface," said Dr. Joseph Zimmerman with the Bone & Joint Center for Sports Medicine, showing a 3D diagram.

On the cup or glenoid side, the bone that's worn away is removed and replaced with a plastic insert. Dr. Zimmerman says this re-surfacing retains the natural shape of the shoulder - and there's a reduced risk of the cup side loosening over time.

The incision he makes is also smaller and recovery time is reduced. Dr. Zimmerman says patients are able to get back to their full range of activities within eight to 12 weeks. He added that anyone with an intact rotator cuff is a candidate for this procedure.

As for McClaine, when he's not tending to his lawn, he's riding his Harley. Now that he can straighten his arm and hold it aloft, it's back to biking when the weather permits.

The technology used for the procedure is called Arthrosurface.


Benita Zahn

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

Albany man arrested in Ontario Street stabbing

Police investigating shooting on Watervliet Avenue Ext., 1 injured

Rochester police investigating deadly shooting

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

Ex-SUNY Empire employee facing fraud charges