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A Shoulder to Rely On

Posted on April 19, 2018 in Orthopedics

Thanks to the artificial ball and socket John Reynolds, M.D., implanted in Dainese Wasson's right shoulder she is back to her normal routine. Surgery gives Sevierville woman relief

With rods and pins in her back and an artificial hip, 81-year-old Dainese Wasson wasn’t keen on the idea of undergoing a total shoulder replacement.

“I’m going to be the Bionic Woman. I’ve got metal all over me,” she said with a laugh. “But hopefully this is the last.”

She said the artificial ball and socket John Reynolds, M.D., implanted in her right shoulder during a 2016 surgery at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center is working just fine.

“Sometimes, I think it’s the surgeon just doing a really good job,” she said of Dr. Reynolds, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who has performed more than 500 total shoulder replacements in his 17-year career.

“I certainly appreciate that, but I think we both can take credit for her good outcome,” Dr. Reynolds said. “The patient’s attitude toward therapy makes a big difference too.”

Wasson blames much of her previous unrelenting pain on age and osteoarthritis.

“It was a gradual thing,” she said. “It just got to where I couldn’t move it. I couldn’t raise it. It was just like it ‘froze’ and the more I tried, the more painful it became. I couldn’t reach behind me. I couldn’t raise it up to get something out of the cabinet. I couldn’t pick up anything that had any weight like a stack of dishes from the dishwasher.”

Still, she put off the surgery for months. “I don’t give up too easily. I keep thinking that God’s going to take care of it and it’s going to go away,” she added. “Well, some He does, and some He says, ‘Go to the doctor.’”

One look at her x-rays told Dr. Reynolds all he needed to see. “The x-rays clearly showed arthritis in her shoulder, but also that the cartilage between the ball and the socket of the shoulder had worn away,” he said. “It was bone-on-bone.”

A three- to four-inch incision in front of the shoulder joint is usually all that’s required to replace the body’s natural ball and socket with a metal ball and plastic socket.. “It becomes a metal-on-plastic type of lining or joint,” said Dr. Reynolds, adding that the metal stem on the ball is inserted into the humerus bone to stabilize the joint.

 “He explains things to you and shows you the x-rays,” Wasson said. “He shows you what he is going to do before the surgery, and then after the surgery, he comes back and he shows you on a monitor: ‘This is what we did.’ The day of the surgery, it was just [snapping her finger] – everything went like it was supposed to.’”

After one night in the hospital, Wasson was released with her arm in a sling and gratitude that she had her daughter to help at home. After just a few short weeks of therapy, Wasson returned to Dr. Reynolds for her first follow-up. “He was pretty pleased with it, and I was too.”

As early as six weeks after her surgery, Wasson was back to doing things she wanted, like her annual spring cleaning of her clothes closets.

“I was already picking up hangers with heavy loads of clothes on them because I transfer my clothing all the time,” she said. “I knew it wouldn’t be too long before I was back to doing whatever I wanted.”