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January 24, 2006 > New Treatments Help Shrug Off Shoulder Injuries

New Treatments Help Shrug Off Shoulder Injuries

Over the last several decades, people have heeded the call to become more physically active. For some, it has meant getting more involved in sports. According to physical fitness experts, age should not be a barrier to activity. So many people have continued to participate in a favorite sport, or started a new one, as they advance through their baby boomer years and beyond.
Though sports can help you stay fit, they can also lead to injuries, especially as you grow older. According to a Consumer Product Safety Commission report, between 1991 and 1998, sports injuries among baby boomers in the United States increased by 33 percent.

"Shoulder problems are very common in sports," says David M. Bell, M.D., co-medical director of Washington Hospital's Sports Medicine Program. Dr. Bell is an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery.

"Although I see many baby boomers with shoulder injuries, this problem can affect people of all ages," he adds.
Dr. Bell will discuss shoulder injuries and treatment options for pain, stiffness and discomfort at a seminar called "New Advancements for the Injured Shoulder" on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 1 p.m. in the Conference Center adjacent to Nakamura Clinic in Union City.

"If people have shoulder problems, there are many new and very effective options for treatment," explains Dr. Bell. "But, the first thing is to get a thorough evaluation by a knowledgeable expert."

One treatment that has changed recently is arthroscopic-or minimally invasive-surgery of the shoulder. With this procedure, a surgeon operates through small incisions with the help of a tiny camera inserted into the joint. This method, which usually results in less pain and a faster recovery for patients, is being used more often to treat all types of shoulder problems.
There have also been new developments in surgical replacement of the shoulder joint. This procedure is usually done to treat stiffness and pain from arthritis or for massive tears of the rotator cuff-the tendons that attach the muscle to the bone around the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries are very common in sports, such as tennis.

"Washington Hospital has an excellent program for hip and knee replacements, and we are now bringing in new developments to treat shoulder problems," reports Dr. Bell, who did the first arthroscopic rotator cuff repair at Washington and was the first physician at the hospital to perform a newer procedure, called reverse total shoulder replacement, for massive rotator cuff tears.

Recent advancements have also occurred in the treatment of broken bones around the shoulder joint that often result from a fall. Today, there are new techniques for fixing many common shoulder fractures, including better implants, as well as improved plates and screws used in repairing the shoulder.

For more information or to register for Dr. Bell's seminar on shoulder injuries and treatment options, please call (800) 963-7070 or visit, click on "For Our Community," and select "Health Classes and Support Groups" from the drop-down menu.

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