Quad Cities, IL/IA

Working with the community... for a healthier community.

25 Years of Shoulder Pain Comes to an End Thanks to Minimally Invasive Surgery


Submitted by Orthopaedic Specialists

For Kathleen House of Sabula, Iowa, it was repetitively lifting heavy objects that led to more than 25 years of shoulder pain.
“I used to clean houses and was constantly moving furniture and other heavy items. My husband used to say that I worked ‘like a man,’ lifting so many hefty things all the time,” said Kathleen.

All of her hard work took its toll — especially on her shoulders.

“I was unable to get my arms above my head or behind my back,” she said. “If I wanted to lift something, I had to push my elbow with my other hand to get the arm up.”

With the pain limiting her ability to work, Kathleen had a traditional rotator cuff surgery done on her shoulder with an open surgical incision that was several centimeters long.

The surgery didn’t result in a permanent solution, and Kathleen continued to struggle with shoulder pain for more than two decades. Tasks like brushing her hair or putting away dishes were nearly impossible.

That’s when Kathleen turned to Dr. Tuvi Mendel, a fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon at Orthopaedic Specialists (OS) in Davenport for a minimally invasive reverse shoulder replacement. Today she’s living pain free.

“Kathleen’s story is great example of why patients shouldn’t surrender to pain,” said Dr. Mendel. “Surgical advances and technological innovation are happening all the time and result in less invasive procedures, shorter surgical time, and accelerated recovery.”

With years of experience and thousands of patient cases successfully completed, the specialists at OS can help patients recover faster through accurate diagnosis and the latest minimally invasive orthopaedic treatment options.

Kathleen’s long journey
Kathleen’s first traditional rotator cuff surgery provided her some relief, but the pain soon returned. This led to a second, and eventually, a third surgery.

“After the effects of the third surgery subsided, I started coming in every four to six months for injections,” said Kathleen. “Those helped at first, but then the effectiveness started to decrease and it wasn’t giving me relief anymore.”

That’s when her doctor recommended Dr. Mendel and a reverse shoulder replacement.

“The rotator cuffs were completely disintegrated and there was nothing there to hold the shoulder in position anymore,” said Dr. Mendel, who has extensive experience in the minimally invasive reverse should replacement. “When rotator cuffs fail to heal after surgery, or when tears are as damaged as Kathleen’s, a reverse shoulder replacement surgery is the best choice. That’s because it relies on different muscles to move the arm.”

Reverse shoulder replacement
In a traditional total shoulder replacement, the ball and socket of the joint are replaced. Reverse total shoulder replacement replaces the ball and socket but reverses the ball and socket orientation.

“By reversing the ball and socket, we are able to mechanically ‘fool’ the shoulder, giving patients improved function and pain control,” said Dr. Mendel. “The reverse total shoulder replacement relies on the deltoid muscle, instead of the rotator cuff, to power and position the arm.”
Kathleen was surprised at how quickly she recovered and how much better she now feels. Her one-year post-op appointment continued to bring good news.

“I didn’t take any pain medication after either of the surgeries. I had no pain at all. I just went about my normal life. My range of motion is pretty much back to normal,” said Kathleen. “I have a friend who needs shoulder surgery and she asked me about Dr. Mendel. I explained to her how great the surgery was and how easy he was to work with.”

To learn more about Dr. Tuvi Mendel and all of the experts at Orthopaedic Specialists, call 563-344-9292, visit OSQuadCities.com, and visit facebook.com/osquadcities.