SOMC’s Trinidad Offering Reverse Shoulder Replacement

SOMC orthopaedic surgeon Gerardo Trinidad, MD, discusses a reverse shoulder prosthesis model with a colleague

When Dot Goodman started trimming the bushes around her home one day two years ago it was a challenge, and resulted in a shoulder problem that took the work of a local surgeon using a new procedure to correct.

“It was hard but I was bound and determined to get it done,” she says. “Then I tore my rotator cuff.”

In a healthy patient’s shoulder, the upper arm bone (humerus) ends in a ball shape, which fits into a socket formed by the shoulder blade (scapula). Together, this ball and socket create the shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles are one of the prime movers of the shoulder, holding it intact and allowing it to bend and function normally.

Goodman saw Gerardo Trinidad, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon on staff at Southern Ohio Medical Center. He performed a surgery to repair it, then sent her through physical therapy.

However, only partially through her therapy, Goodman had to stop because of heart surgery, and after she recovered, had to start over with her shoulder.

“I was in a lot of pain, and Dr. Trinidad wanted to use this new procedure that takes away the pain, and it did,” she says.

“Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery is mainly used on those suffering from a weakening of the rotator cuff muscles,” Dr. Trinidad explains. “This can be caused by disease, arthritis or, in Mrs. Goodman’s case, previous shoulder injuries that cause a lot of pain.”

The reversal procedure is used instead of a conventional shoulder replacement due to the lack of a functioning rotator cuff in the patient. The Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Surgery essentially reverses the alignment of the original ball and socket by attaching a prosthetic ball to the scapula and a prosthetic cup (socket) at the upper end of the humerus.

“The surgery changes the center of rotation for the shoulder, allowing movement up and out,” Dr. Trinidad says. “By reversing the ball and socket locations, deltoid and other muscles are able to act in unison to compensate for the lack of a rotator cuff.”

“I’ve had hardly any pain,” Goodman says. “I can’t lift it straight up, but I can get it fairly high, and it’s just amazing how much better I feel.”

“We’re very excited here at SOMC to be able to use this approach to reducing pain and helping patients get back to living an active life,” Dr. Trinidad says.