Shoulder replacement surgery on the rise

August 21, 2011

"We used to own five restaurants here and one of them, we used to give away pretzels and mustard. That's a big Pennsylvania thing," said Herlocher

Another big thing for Herlocher is swimming but when he developed arthritis, he had to quit.

"My shoulder started hurting so much that I couldn't swim," said Herlocher.

After medication and exercise failed to help, He decided on joint replacement surgery.

Dr. Jason Stein says the surgery is not just to relieve pain.

"People say you know it's not the pain that gets me, it's just I can't get to the positions that I used to be able to get to," said Dr. Stein.

To restore that range of motion, Dr. Stein removes the damaged head or ball of the joint and a new one is fitted into place.

"The hole is not in the middle, so we pick the right size or the right thickness. Then we dial or turn parts so that it perfectly matches the anatomy of the person beforehand," said Dr. Stein.

After that, a matched socket completes the joint.

Recovery can take up to three months, then most people are cleared for activities.

"We want them to go out and live their lives and have fun so I don't get worried about swimming, tennis, golf, any of those things," said Dr. Stein.

There are about 23,000 shoulder replacement surgeries performed every year.

Dr. Stein says the surgery is relatively new and it's unsure exactly how long the replacements will last. He estimates for most patients it will last 15 to 20 years.

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