A Weight Off Ernie’s Shoulder

Organization: Service: Story Topics:
Senior Health, Health & Wellness

Ernie Narvaez, a retiree living happily in Mission Viejo, loves to golf.  What he doesn’t love is the severe arthritis in both shoulders that takes all the fun out of the game, not to mention all the other aspects of his active lifestyle. Around the same time Ernie’s arthritic pain became so bad that he had to temporarily hang up his clubs, his wife Jane came across an article from MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center on advances in shoulder replacement surgery.

In the article, she read about a former Saddleback Medical Center patient, who happens to live in the neighboring city of Laguna Woods. Ari Youderian, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Saddleback Medical Center, was able to get this patient back to her favorite activity, bowling, after a successful shoulder replacement surgery. After putting off surgery for years, Ernie called Dr. Youderian’s office to make an appointment.

“Ernie had very little range of motion and lots of pain,” states Dr. Youderian. “He was needlessly suffering with severe arthritis in his shoulder joints, with bone loss and loss of cartilage—so much so that he couldn’t lift his arms above his shoulders.”

After a CT scan, Dr. Youderian worked out a plan with Ernie to repair both joints with reverse total shoulder replacements. In this procedure, the ball of the ball-and-socket joint is attached to the shoulder blade instead of the humerus, the long upper arm bone.

Between doctor and patient, they agreed to do the less severe side first, so Ernie would have a completely healthy and functioning arm and shoulder before it came time to perform surgery on the second joint.

Half way there

Ernie’s first surgery was a total success and he can now raise his left arm above his head, just like he could when he was in his youth.

“What Ernie learned from his first surgery is going to help him recover more quickly after the second. Post-surgery, I advised him to engage in light activity to slowly build his strength. But Ernie also has a great outlook on life, and that always dramatically helps to create a better outcome,” says Dr. Youderian.

While Ernie’s shoulder continues to heal, he and Jane are living well and staying active, taking long walks with their dog, Stoney.

“Though it’s kind of fun being left-handed for a while, I’m very much looking forward to having the second surgery so I have full use of both arms and shoulders again,” chuckles Ernie. “I never would have thought that I’d have such great use of my arm again, but thanks to Dr. Youderian, I now look forward to getting back on the golf course in 2018!”

For a referral to a top orthopedic surgeon, please call 1.800.MEMORIAL (1.800.636.6742).