Woman undergoes total shoulder replacement in Dubai

Dubai surgeons relieve her of pain and save her shoulder in groundbreaking surgery

Dubai: In a groundbreaking operation, surgeons at the Burjeel Hospital for Advanced Surgery (BHAS) performed a complex total reverse shoulder replacement surgery on a 57-year-old German expatriate.


Angelika Eksteen, who had lost complete movement in her left shoulder following a shoulder fracture in an accident as well as a botched surgery, told Gulf News that her condition prior to the second surgery had severely limited her physical movement.

“I was in constant pain as the [first] surgery conducted to repair my shoulder fracture had failed and the implants were hurting me. I was unable to move my left shoulder. Usually such severe shoulder deterioration only occurs in senior citizens and here I was suffering so much that it had affected my work output.”

Eksteen confirmed that the severe pain has disappeared after the surgery and she is now able to do the exercises to mobilise her shoulder.

Usually, total shoulder replacements last for 10 years after which the patient might need another surgical intervention.

Eksteen contacted Dr Bhuvan Machani, consultant orthopaedic surgeon for upper extremities at the hospital, who recalled: “The patient came to us in extreme pain. A CT scan of her left shoulder indicated that her fracture that was operated upon earlier had not healed.

“We chose a total reverse shoulder replacement surgery for Eksteen. It is a condition when there are no rotator cuff tendons left, which was the case as a result from the injury and subsequent failed surgery. This is performed usually in elderly patients, however, in her case there was no choice and this surgery had to be performed,” said Dr Machani.

Shoulder replacement is a medical procedure that involves replacement of damaged bones of the shoulder joints with artificial joint implants. Generally, it is a degenerative process where all the rotator cuff tendons are torn, but sometimes it also affects people who have rheumatoid arthritis, or trauma patients where cuff tendons are completely torn. While such surgeries are sparsely performed in the UAE, considering the complexity and the failure of previous surgeries, this is believed to be a first-of-its-kind surgery in the region.

Dr Machani added: “This surgery is performed at times when bone fragments are displaced involving the shoulder. Whilst fracture in the shoulder can be complex, it should certainly not be taken lightly, and be treated by expert consultants who are efficient at managing such injuries and not for surgeons who have no adequate expertise. It is to be remembered that the first-time surgery is the best surgery, as such it is important to treat with great caution and expertise.”

The surgery was done in two stages, he said.

In the first stage that lasted over four weeks, a detailed CT scan was taken of the injured shoulder which revealed the fracture and the failed implants within that were causing pain.

“We cleaned out the rod that was put in and other implants, poured cement in the joint and also started her on powerful antibiotics to eliminate chances of any infections. When she stabilised after four weeks, we carried out the shoulder replacement with artificial implants. The patient made rapid recovery in the next four weeks and with physical rehabilitation she is already doing better than expected,” added Dr Machani.

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