Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County Offers Progressive, Life-Changing Surgery Option for Shoulder Replacement Patients

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Patients who are not candidates for traditional shoulder replacement find answer with cutting-edge reverse total shoulder replacement procedure.

In reverse total shoulder replacement, the socket and metal ball are switched with the metal ball attached to the shoulder bone and a plastic socket attached to the upper arm bone.

Almost immediately post-operative patients note that the pain they had suffered with for so long is gone in their shoulder. Likewise, a return of shoulder function can be noticed by the patient relatively quickly as well,” added Dr. Mc Millan.

Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County is now advancing the treatment options for patients requiring shoulder replacement surgery by performing a relatively new procedure known as reverse total shoulder arthroplasty, or reverse total shoulder replacement.

The first procedure at Lourdes Burlington was performed in June by orthopedic surgeon and Director of Orthopedic Sports Medicine for Lourdes Medical Associates Professional Orthopaedics, Sean Mc Millan, DO. Dr. Mc Millan is among only a handful of surgeons performing the procedure in southern New Jersey.

This unique replacement surgery was first introduced in France in the 1980s and received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for use in the United States in 2004.

Unlike a conventional total shoulder replacement in which the joint surfaces are replaced with a plastic socket attached to the shoulder bone and a metal ball with a stem is attached to the upper arm, reverse total shoulder replacement surgery actually reverses the anatomy of the shoulder.

Typically, reverse total shoulder replacement is ideal for patients with rotator cuff tear arthropathy, a condition that occurs when there is severe shoulder arthritis in the setting of a large rotator cuff tear, for patients without a rotator cuff or for patients who had a previous shoulder replacement that failed.

Older patients who have significant pain on a daily basis and little-to-no range of motion in their shoulder joint are the best candidates for reverse shoulder surgery. The procedure is generally not recommended for younger patients.

By reversing the shoulder’s normal anatomy, the deltoid muscle, one of the stronger shoulder muscles, is given control to raise the arm. The socket and metal ball are switched with the metal ball attached to the shoulder bone and a plastic socket attached to the upper arm bone.

“By shifting the center of rotation, the strength needed to move the arm is transferred from the damaged rotator cuff muscles to the healthier and stronger deltoid muscle,” said Dr. Mc Millan.

The expected outcome of a reverse shoulder replacement includes:

  • improved range of motion
  • improved function and ability to perform daily activities
  • significant shoulder pain relief
  • increased shoulder stability

“Almost immediately post-operative patients note that the pain they had suffered with for so long is gone in their shoulder. Likewise, a return of shoulder function can be noticed by the patient relatively quickly as well,” added Dr. Mc Millan. “This translates to a dramatically improved quality of life that could not be achieved otherwise.”

The reverse shoulder procedure typically takes 2 hours to perform. The required hospital stay is around 1 to 2 days, followed by about three weeks in a shoulder immobilizer. Outpatient physical therapy is needed for 6 to 12 weeks for progressive deltoid strengthening.

“Since we began offering the procedure at Lourdes Burlington, we have seen a spike in patients scheduling to undergo the surgery,” said Dr. Mc Millan. “Patients who are not candidates for traditional shoulder replacement now have a solution – and even better, right in their backyard.”

Dr. Mc Millan received advanced training in shoulder surgery and shoulder replacement surgery during his arthroscopy fellowship at UMass Memorial Medical Center, a Musculoskeletal Center of Excellence nationally recognized for quality in orthopedic and total joint replacement care.

For more information about reverse total shoulder replacement or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mc Millan, call LMA Professional Orthopaedics of Burlington County at (609) 747-9200. You can also visit him on the web for more information on this treatment option, as well as others at: http://www.orthodoc.aaos.org/drmcmillan.

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Lauren Markin
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