Easier Shoulder Surgery for Patients

Osteoarthritis can lead to severe shoulder pain, wearing down the joint so much that simple movements can become unbearable. Now, a new shoulder replacement is giving patients their reach back.

Larry Green lived with shoulder pain for years, until everyday tasks became debilitating.

"One of the things that, for example, my wife and I do is cuddle at night and I just couldn't get my arm up and around," Larry Green, StepTech patient, told Ivanhoe.

That's when he opted for a new shoulder replacement surgery. You can see in Larry's case there was virtually no cartilage left, just bone on bone. Dr. Jason Scalise says that makes Larry an ideal candidate for StepTech.

"I think that this will be one of those milestones that will help us address significant shoulder arthritis with bone loss," Jason Scalise, MD, Orthopedic Surgeon and Shoulder Specialist at The CORE Institute, told Ivanhoe.

With this new technique surgeons make a 90 degree cut, preserving as much bone as possible.

"What we do is we make a very precise cut in the bone and then instead of implanting a slanted socket, we can implant a more orientated anatomic socket, which we believe will have better results in the long term," Dr. Scalise explained.

"I have no pain.  I have no pain at all," Larry said.

StepTech patients can be safely out of the sling within the first 24 hours and engage in light activities. The doctor believes about 25 centers nationwide are offering this new approach.

BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis is a condition that can affect any joint in the body. Sometimes called degenerative joint disease, the condition occurs with the wearing down or degeneration of the cartilage, which covers the top of the bone and can result in bone-on-bone friction.  Osteoarthritis of the shoulder can cause swelling, pain, or bone spurs to develop.  In the shoulder, osteoarthritis can occur in the acromioclavicular joint, where the collarbone meets the tip of the shoulder blade, or the glenohumeral joint, where the top of the humerus bone meets the shoulder blade. (Source: www.webmd.com)

SYMPTOMS: The symptoms associated with osteoarthritis of the shoulder include:

 Pain in the shoulder following activity or changes in the weather
 Tenderness or soreness when touching the shoulder
 Loss of shoulder rotation
 Difficulty completing everyday tasks which involve shoulder movement (brushing your teeth, reaching for something, etc.)
 Stiffness after inactivity or sleep
 A cracking or clicking sound when moving the shoulder (Source: www.familydoctor.org)

RISK FACTORS:  There are a variety of risk factors for osteoarthritis of the shoulder, which include age, sex, genetics, weight, and joint infection.  The condition is more prevalent in older populations; however, younger people may be at risk if they have a history of shoulder dislocation.  Certain occupations may have a higher risk of developing osteoarthritis as well, such as those in construction or sports associated with overhead shoulder movement such as tennis and golf.  (Source: www.aafp.org)

NEW TECHNOLOGY:  For more severe cases of osteoarthritis, surgery may be the most effective treatment.  The GLOBAL STEPTECH APG is part of a shoulder reconstruction system, which is designed to correct bone loss in the shoulder socket, recreate the original glenohumeral joint line, and minimize the loss of healthy bone.  The prosthesis has spherical surface on one side, and a conical surface on the other, in order to more closely resemble the original bone socket.  GLOBAL STEPTECH APG surgery is intended for total shoulder reconstruction for patients suffering from severe pain or disablement caused by arthritis, fracture or dislocations of the shoulder, which result in severe bone loss, or when the shoulder experiences trauma severe enough to disrupt the blood supply.  (Sources: www.fda.gov, www.depuy.com, www.medgadget.com)


Jason Scalise, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon and Shoulder Specialist
The CORE Institute

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