Reverse Shoulder Replacement

Ken and Jeanette Schwab
Ken and Jeanette Schwab are enjoying a good quality of life in retirement with help from orthopedic surgeon Daniel Cordas, MD and LeConte Medical Center.

“On a scale of one-to-10, the pain in my shoulder was pushing close to nine all the time,” says retiree Ken Schwab. “I had never had that kind of pain before.”

Ken and his wife sit together in the cafeteria at LeConte Medical Center where Ken had shoulder replacement surgery. 

In 2016, a wildfire tore through the woods on Ken’s property. The long process of cleaning up afterwards tore into his shoulder.

When physical therapy didn’t help, Ken was referred to Smoky Mountain Orthopedics and surgeon Daniel Cordas, MD.

“He had a massive rotator cuff tear that was not repairable,” Dr. Cordas says. “This was causing him severe pain, in addition to weakening his shoulder to the point that he could not raise his arm. It was impacting his quality of life.”

In the past, there was no good solution for this type of condition. Today, Dr. Cordas performs a procedure that switches the ball and socket of the shoulder joint. Their natural positions are reversed, so it’s referred to as reverse shoulder replacement.

“By reversing the mechanics of the shoulder, stability is dramatically improved,” Dr. Cordas says. “Patients have excellent pain relief and major improvements in function after successful surgery.”

Ken says Dr. Cordas was honest and took time to explain everything in detail. Ken’s also very happy with his new shoulder.

“Look at this!” Ken says, grinning as he holds his arm out and then moves his shoulder.

Dr. Cordas says reverse shoulder surgery has sky rocketed in popularity over the past decade. It’s being used for severe shoulder fractures and irreparable massive rotator cuff tears, like Ken’s.

“This is the overarching goal in orthopedic surgery – to improve patients’ lives by relieving pain and restoring function,” Dr. Cordas says.

Her Turn

Jeanette Schwab was so impressed with the treatment her husband received that she knew exactly where she wanted to go when she had hip pain that held her back. Dr. Cordas recommended physical therapy instead of surgery.

“He didn’t try to talk me into surgery,” Jeanette says. “He gave me all the facts and left the choice up to me.”

Today, Ken and Jeanette are enjoying a very full life in retirement, and they give part of the credit to Dr. Cordas.

“He puts your needs first,” Jeanette says of Dr. Cordas. “And we’re grateful for that.”