GREENVILLE, SC (WSPA) – A doctor at Bon Secours St. Francis says he has become the first in the United States to perform a new kind of shoulder replacement surgery.
Dr. Alan Posta performs more than 100 shoulder surgeries a year and says fully restoring a person’s range of motion is extremely complicated.
“The difference between the shoulder and the knee and the hip is the shoulder is the most unstable joint in the body,” Dr. Posta said.
He explained that he had a breakthrough in June of 2019 when he says he became the first in the United States to perform a reverse total shoulder replacement surgery using a lateralized glenoid.
“This is a procedure that is wonderful at taking someone who can’t actively elevate their arm and get them over their head, usually it’s an older population,” he said.
Claudia Harjes says she was in that category, unable to sleep at night due to pain.
After undergoing the surgery, she says she’s now able to do things she never dreamed she’d be able to do again within weeks, like a “down dog” position in yoga.
“I’ve got the strength and stability to do whatever I want,” she said.
The surgery involves changing the size of parts implanted in the shoulder, Dr. Posta explained.
“Instead of putting a bone graft behind a base plate, we make the glenosphere bigger. It lateralizes the center of rotation of the joint and theoretically gives you better internal rotation,” he explained. This, he says, allows people to reach behind their lower back when they otherwise would not be able to after a standard shoulder replacement surgery.
While he says this is not a miracle surgery for all shoulder problems, he believes it can help a number of people.
“I find the individuals that have significant wear or have significant bone loss, it has worked well to date,” he said.
Dr. Posta said if you have suffered an injury and have lost significant function of your arm, that’s a warning sign that you need to be evaluated right away by your primary care doctor.
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