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  • Relief Found with Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Relief Found with Shoulder Replacement Surgery

Linda Kolasinski

Cottage Center for Orthopedics

The Orthopedic doctors and surgeons affiliated with Cottage Health treat patients every day with bone and joint care and joint replacement surgeries that have earned the Cottage Center for Orthopedics nationally ranked patient satisfaction.

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“I suffered from shoulder pain for years, but I finally found relief with a shoulder replacement at Cottage.” – Linda Kolasinski

After her pain began to interfere with daily life, even making it difficult to drive, Linda knew she needed help. Steroid injections had provided temporary relief over the years, but it was fleeting, and those treatments had stopped offering any significant relief, even short-term. She didn’t know where to go for help or who to see.

Fortunately, Linda heard about a Meet the Doctor seminar in Solvang with Dr. Matthew Pifer, an orthopedic shoulder surgeon affiliated with Cottage Health. At the seminar, she learned more about chronic shoulder pain and options for treatment.

“I knew what to do next,” Linda said. “I made an appointment with Dr. Pifer, and that was the beginning of my getting better.”

Shoulder pain can come in all forms, and symptoms can range from pain at rest, pain or weakness when reaching for something, or pain with more activity and sport. Available treatments have become increasingly diverse, less invasive, and more successful than ever before, with faster recoveries.

“Linda suffered from severe arthritis with a rotator cuff tear,” said Matthew Pifer, MD. “This causes pain around the shoulder joint and diminishes the range of motion.”

The cartilage layer in Linda’s shoulder had deteriorated, and she required a total shoulder replacement. A total shoulder replacement is a solution for those having bone-on-bone damage, possibly from osteoarthritis or a chronically torn rotator cuff. About 50,000 shoulder replacements are performed annually in the U.S., and they fall into two main categories:

X-ray of Linda's shoulder

  • Total (complete) shoulder replacement is the most common type, where both damaged ball and socket are replaced.
  • Reverse shoulder replacement – the procedure Linda required – is performed in patients with severe rotator cuff tears who develop arthritis. In this procedure, the ball and socket are “reversed” to allow for better motion.

“Reverse shoulder replacements are particularly effective for patients suffering from shoulder arthritis along with damaged rotator cuffs,” Dr. Pifer said.

After her surgery, Linda spent one night at Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital before going home, and her shoulder has been pain-free ever since.

For after-surgery care, Linda was prescribed physical therapy, and she was given exercises to perform at home, which helped strengthen her shoulder and improve its range of motion. After two to three months of recovery and physical therapy, Linda was feeling great and getting back to the life she loves.

“Cottage was absolutely wonderful,” Linda said. “The difference in care I received there is night and day from other places.”

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Phone: 805-879-8986

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