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Times Of India
13 June 2012

75–year75–old underwent complex procedure after ignoring shoulder pain for 2 years; doctors say reverse shoulder replacement surgery is only performed in the rarest, most severe cases

Been ignoring that shoulder pain for a while? That’s probably a very bad idea, as Alandi resident Lalita Chaudhari might be able to tell you. The 7575–year75–old went under the knife for a rare Reverse Shoulder Replacement surgery on May 4, and is currently recuperating for the next couple of months. The surgery, done only in specific, extreme cases, is only the second of its kind to take place in the city. Interestingly, the first such Reverse Shoulder Replacement surgery in the country was performed in Pune in February 2011.

Two years ago, Chaudhari had fallen and hurt her shoulder. At the time, she had been operated on at Hardikar Hospital to fix the dislocation, but after around six months it began hurting again and she was unable to use her right arm. Soon, she stopped going out of the house and was constantly in the pain, unable to handle any work at the family–owned Dnyaneshwar Mangal Karyala marriage hall, say her two sons.

"This case was tough, because her problem was present for almost two years. Moreover, we don’t generally advise such orthopaedic surgeries at her age. Luckily she had no diabetes or blood pressure problems and was extremely positive," said Dr Abhay Kulkarni, orthopaedic surgeon at Sahyadri Hospital, who performed the surgery.

The Reverse Shoulder Replacement surgery is used for those suffering from rotator cuff tearing, a group of muscles important for shoulder movements. In Chaudhari’s case, her rotator cuff was entirely torn. "It took me two and half hours to operate on her, longer than the usual time. A metal ball is placed near the chest while the socket to hold that ball is placed on the other side, making shoulder movement easier. This is a reversal of the normal technique and hence is complicated and tedious, yet very effective."

Dr Kulkarni says he sees atleast five patients a day who come to him with shoulder pains, frozen shoulders and related problems, most of whom have ignored the problem or failed with self medication. "People are generally aware about knee problems and related surgeries. But shoulder pains as well must not be ignored, otherwise we have no option but to advise surgery. Many shoulder issues can be solved by physiotherapy and medication," he said.

After a week in hospital, three weeks ago Chaudhari went back home and was able to make some minimal movements with her hand. Now, she says, "I can’t wait to go back to my daily routine of helping my daughtersin-law, cooking and visiting the Samadhi temple of Sant Dyaneshwar. The surgery was an absolute success."

The Reverse Shoulder Replacement surgery is so called as the technique accomplishes a reversal of normal technique. For those suffering from severe rotator cuff tears, an artificial metal ball is placed on the shoulder blade, while the socket is placed on top of the arm bone or humerus. In conventional shoulder replacement surgeries, the ball of the top of the arm bone (humeral head) is replaced with a metal ball.

I can’t wait to go back to my daily routine. The surgery was an absolute success LALITA CHAUDHARI the patient

It took me two and half hours to operate. It’s a reversal of normal technique and hence complicated and tedious DR ABHAY KULKARNI orthopaedic surgeon, Sahyadri Hospital

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