Paula’s Story: Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Helps After Fall

Life revolves around family. That philosophy brought Paula Baker and her husband to the Miami Valley nearly three years ago. The 70-year-old moved to Franklin to be closer to her children and grandchildren.

“We love it down here,” says Paula. “We are so happy that we get to live closer to our kids and their children.”

In April 2020, Paula was walking up the stairs when she tripped and landed on her right shoulder.

“I’ve had problems with my joints for quite some time – struggling with arthritis,” explains Paula. “I remember hearing something crack in my shoulder, but I really didn’t think much of it because I pop and crack all the time.”

Paula’s husband convinced her to see a doctor. She visited a nearby urgent care and hospital before coming to Atrium Medical Center’s Emergency Department.

“At this point, my arm was absolutely killing me,” says Paula. “When we decided to go to Atrium, they X-rayed me and gave me some medication before I saw the doctor.”

Soon, Paula met Michael J. Griesser, MD, a board-certified and fellowship trained orthopedic surgeon at Premier Health Orthopedics.

“When I first met Paula, she was in a lot of pain,” remembers Dr. Griesser. “After talking with her, and reviewing her scans and X-rays, we decided it best to do a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty due to her pain, arthritic history, and the severity of her shoulder fracture.”

Two days later, Dr. Griesser and his team operated on Paula at Atrium with a reverse total shoulder replacement. This procedure is for patients who have painful arthritis in their shoulder, have damage to the muscles around the shoulder, or have a severe shoulder fracture.

Dr. Griesser removed the damaged bone and smoothed the ends. Then, he attached a rounded joint piece to Paula’s shoulder bone and replaced the top of her upper arm bone with a cup-shaped piece.

“After the procedure, I felt like a million bucks,” says Paula. “I was so much more comfortable after the surgery and couldn’t believe the difference.”

Paula stayed at Atrium for two days following her surgery for observation. Once she was discharged, Paula still had an uphill climb to begin her recovery.

“I stayed home and rested for several weeks,” says Paula. “I did everything Dr. Griesser told me to do. After a few weeks, I went to physical therapy at the YMCA in Middletown.”

“For patients who have this reverse total shoulder procedure, they can expect to be in physical therapy and completing gentle home exercises around six weeks after their operation,” explains Dr. Griesser.

Paula credits Dr. Griesser and Premier Health for giving her back the mobility and comfort she hasn’t experienced in decades. “I love Dr. Griesser,” says Paula. “With my arthritis, this arm and shoulder haven’t felt this good in a long time.”

“Paula was a wonderful patient,” says Dr. Griesser. “She followed every instruction to a T. I’m so pleased we were able to help get her back to doing the things she loves.”

Paula says after her experience, she plans on going back to Premier Health Orthopedics for other orthopedic needs.

“I have knee issues and other ortho problems,” explains Paula. “I am already in the process of having other procedures completed through this amazing team.”

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