Quad Cities, IL/IA

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If You Suffer From Shoulder Pain That’s Limiting Your Mobility, Consider Outpatient Surgery for a Quick and Effective Rec


Submitted by Mississippi Valley Surgery Center

A minor fall on a carpeted surface isn’t a big deal for most people. They just brush themselves off and stand back up. But for Donald “Don” Johnson, a facilities manager at a Quad-Cities manufacturing plant, falling down in a movie theater the day after Christmas left him in a lot of pain and with limited mobility.

The fall was risky for Don because he was healing from a recent spine fusion operation. In addition, a weak and painful rotator cuff in his right shoulder made matters worse because he instinctively protected his right side when he took the tumble.

“I automatically protected the hurting right shoulder and only used my left arm to stop myself as I fell,” said Don. “While I did protect the right shoulder, unfortunately I blew out the rotator cuff in my left shoulder. So, my right shoulder was already pretty messed up — and now my left one was in pain. I literally couldn’t stand back up. I had to have somebody come and pick me up off the floor.”

Don was taken to the emergency room where an MRI confirmed that his left shoulder’s rotator cuff was now also damaged. The attending physician recommended that Don see an orthopaedic specialist as soon as possible.

Turn to an expert  

Don turned to Dr. Tuvi Mendel, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon at Orthopaedic Specialists in Davenport. Dr. Mendel specializes in minimally invasive, outpatient procedures with extensive experience in minimally invasive reverse shoulder replacement surgery. He performs many of his outpatient procedures at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center at 3400 Dexter Court in Davenport.

Mississippi Valley Surgery Center is an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) designed specifically for outpatient surgeries and procedures. The Center is accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC). The accreditation certifies the organization’s commitment to providing high-quality health care that meets the AAAHC’s rigorous standards.

“When I met with Dr. Mendel, I was a basket case,” said Don. “I didn’t know what to do. It was three months after my fall, and I had been relying on other people to do everything. I couldn’t lift either of my arms due to the pain in my shoulders.”

Dr. Mendel examined Don and quickly determined a reverse shoulder replacement in both shoulders would be the best option.

“Both of Don’s rotator cuffs were in very bad shape, and there was nothing there to hold the shoulder in position anymore,” said Dr. Mendel. “When rotator cuffs are as damaged as Don’s were, a reverse shoulder replacement surgery is the best choice.”

Outpatient 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.

This method is also ideal for patients who have had previous shoulder surgery with failed results.”

Don chose to have his shoulder replacement surgery at the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center.

“I requested the Surgery Center because it is awesome,” said Don. “They’re very caring, and you can tell that everyone who works there is really enjoying themselves. There is no one who isn’t smiling, and you can just tell that they like working there and care about their patients. All my experiences there have been really, really good.”

Don’s first surgery on his right shoulder took place in March. His left shoulder replacement happened only three months later. Don was surprised at how quickly he recovered and how much better he now feels.

“From the time they did the surgeries, I haven’t experienced any real pain at all in either shoulder. It’s been a total life changer,” he said.

Commit to physical therapy

After his surgeries, Don committed to a strict physical therapy program.

“By attending physical therapy, you promote proper healing while improving your body’s biomechanics for pain-free movement,” said Dr. Mendel. “It is an essential step in the recovery process.”

While Don’s physical therapy appointments are now over, he still religiously does the exercises to rebuild strength in his muscles and maintain his mobility. His hard work has paid off because this spring he’s returned to a hobby near and dear to his heart — fishing!

“Before the surgeries, I wasn’t able to cast or even really hold the pole,” said Don. “But I’m in a really good spot now. It feels great to be able to go fishing again.”

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.  To learn more about the Mississippi Valley Surgery Center, go to www.mvhealth.net and visit Facebook at facebook.com/MississippiValleySurgeryCenter.