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Innovative technology is helping people overcome shoulder pain

Chronic shoulder pain can affect all aspects of your life, depriving you of sleep and limiting your ability to perform even the simplest tasks, like reaching into an upper cabinet or brushing your hair. Unfortunately, shoulder pain is common, particularly in middle-aged and older people who may have led an active lifestyle. While the shoulder is the most flexible joint in the human body, gradual wear and tear of the cartilage that eases movement of this ball-and-socket joint can lead to bone rubbing against bone and painful arthritis.

When physical therapy, medications, and even cortisol injections fail to relieve long-term shoulder pain, whether due to arthritis or injury, your doctor may recommend shoulder replacement surgery. 

Although more than 200,000 shoulder replacement procedures are performed every year in the United States, many people remain apprehensive about undergoing major surgery. However, advances in technique and in the shoulder implants themselves mean that today’s surgeries are simpler, which can make recovery easier for you.

Former baseball pitcher Dave Dravecky had to have his left arm amputated in the 1980s due to recurring cancer. Years later, after the extra stress on his remaining shoulder left him with considerable pain and unable to participate in the activities he loved, Dave elected to undergo shoulder replacement surgery.

Dave’s surgery was performed using the Arthrex Eclipse™ total shoulder system. The Eclipse implant’s unique, stemless screw design is considered “bone-sparing.” It eliminates the need to drill a canal in the humeral bone of the arm to fit the traditional long metal stem that holds the implant in position. In turn, the surgery is shorter, recovery may be quicker, and your native bone is preserved in case future procedures are needed. 

Clinical results spanning more than a decade and summarized in a recent article in the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery International have shown how the Eclipse system significantly reduces pain and improves shoulder function, range of motion and strength.

Image courtesy of Arthrex
David Albers

“At 3 months, I found myself at 100% range of motion,” Dave said of the life-changing procedure. Like most patients who undergo shoulder replacement surgery, he was able to return to the activities he loves, including golf.

Overcoming shoulder pain is within reach. To learn more about the treatment options for chronic shoulder pain, visit Be sure to use the Find a Doctor map to locate a shoulder surgeon in your area. 

This is not medical advice and Arthrex recommends that surgeons be trained in the use of a particular product before using it in surgery. A surgeon must always rely on their own professional judgment when deciding whether to use a particular product when treating a particular patient. A surgeon must always refer to the package insert, product label, and/or directions for use before using any Arthrex product. Postoperative management is patient-specific and dependent on the treating professional’s assessment. Individual results will vary and not all patients will experience the same postoperative activity level or outcomes. Products may not be available in all markets because product availability is subject to the regulatory or medical practices in individual markets.

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