Time to Spare: Kay Says Goodbye to Shoulder Pain

Organization: Service: Story Topics:
Joint Replacement

Kay Cahill sets up four paces behind the line, and focuses on the triangle of white pins. She begins her approach, swings her arm back in a perfect arc, and releases the twelve-pound ball to send it spinning down the alley. The 75-year-old Laguna Woods resident adds another strike to her bowling record in the tenth and final frame of the night.

“For me, being able to bowl a complete game again is like winning an Olympic gold,” says Kay.

Just two weeks earlier, the lifelong athlete had undergone right shoulder surgery.

“I was in so much pain that I couldn’t bowl or serve the volleyball – all the things I loved,” she said, “For the first time, I felt my age.”

COMMON OCCURRENCE

Whether it’s due to age, injury or overuse, nearly half of the population will experience shoulder pain or discomfort at some point in their life. Symptoms include upper arm and neck pain, numbness and limited range of arm motion. Since shoulder pain can result from many conditions, including arthritis, rotator cuff and ligament tears, and sports-related injuries, the specialists at Saddleback Memorial see patients of all ages.

Not willing to give up her cherished pastimes, Kay made an appointment with Ari Youderian, M.D.  Dr. Youderian is an orthopedic surgeon and shoulder specialist at Saddleback Memorial.  Dr. Youderian ordered a MRI that revealed advanced arthritis was at the root of Kay’s pain and she needed shoulder replacement surgery, which Dr. Youderian later performed.

KINGPIN OF CARE

Saddleback Memorial offers a spectrum of treatment options for shoulder pain ranging from noninvasive approaches, such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy, to arthroscopic and shoulder replacement surgeries.

“About 85 percent of patients will feel better without surgical intervention, but for patients like Kay who continue to experience persistent pain, surgery is the best way to help them resume their normal daily activities – pain-free,” says Dr. Youderian.

Saddleback Memorial’s comprehensive shoulder surgery program offers patients the expertise of orthopedic surgeons specifically trained in advanced shoulder surgery, like Dr. Youderian, and nurses, while anesthesiologists apply advanced pain management techniques for maximum comfort during and after surgery. With Kay, anesthesiologist Bryan Fong, M.D., used an interscalene nerve block to target the specific nerves in and around Kay’s shoulder.

"Peripheral nerve blocks can help minimize side effects from IV pain medications so that patients can focus on healing and recovery," says Dr. Fong.

LUCKY STRIKE

Kay spent just one night in the hospital. The morning after surgery, she was able to raise her arm and dress herself without any pain. Two weeks later, she lifted her arm straight above her head.

“It was almost as if I’d never had surgery,” says Kay.

She adds, “Nothing is worse than being in pain every day. Thanks to Dr. Youderian and Saddleback Memorial, I’m loving my winter bowling league, and I cannot wait to pick up my volleyball again.”

For a referral to an orthopedic surgeon, please call 1-800-MEMORIAL (1-800-636-6742).