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updated: 10/12/2012 11:23 PM

Farmer gets new shoulder at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

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  • Robert Pickles

    Robert Pickles

Jennifer Okray

GARDNER, ILL., October 1, 2012 -- Robert Pickles, 67, is no stranger to hard work. He ran a farm and drove truck for a living when rheumatoid arthritis in his shoulders left him incapable of working anymore without a total shoulder replacement.

"I relied on my shoulders for everything I did," said Pickles. "I grew corn and soybeans and drove semi-truck. It was very physical on my shoulders and got to the point where all I could do was sit and watch."

Pickles was seeing a doctor for knee problems when his shoulders became a more pressing issue. That doctor recommended he see Dr. Brian Forsythe at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. After a consultation, Pickles was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis that completely deteriorated the cartilage in his shoulder joint. Within a year, he had surgery scheduled for a total shoulder replacement.

"Robert Pickles had a very active lifestyle, said Dr. Forsythe. "Advanced surgical techniques and technological innovation in joint replacement allow us to offer pain relief and increased function.

In 2011, Dr. Forsythe performed a bone preserving, short stem shoulder replacement on each of Pickles' shoulders, successfully restoring his range of motion and enjoyment of life.

Shoulder replacement, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, is rising in popularity and is now the third most common joint replacement after knees and hips. According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of shoulder arthroplasty procedures increased by 145% between 1997 and 2005. This is likely due to improved technology and reports of successful long-term outcomes associated with excellent pain relief and restoration of function.

Recovery time for total shoulder replacement is typically three to six months to have full use of the arm and shoulder along with a few weeks of physical therapy.

Research published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery correlates surgery success with surgeons who have done the most procedures. Doctors at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush are among the most experienced in the nation with the highest number of shoulder replacement surgeries.

Pickles had a few weeks of physical therapy and reports feeling "like brand new." He had a torn bicep on the left shoulder so it required more therapy afterward, but he is thrilled with the results of both surgeries -- and Dr. Forsythe.

"He told me he would help me and he did," said Pickles. "It is hard to believe how good I feel. For a while I couldn't even lift a fork to eat or brush my hair and teeth, but now I have no problems and no pain."

As one of the nation's top providers of traditional and reverse shoulder replacement surgeries, Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush will hold several seminars about options for shoulder pain and injuries. They include:

• Tuesday, October 16, 6:30 p.m. Bolingbrook Country Club, 2001 Rodeo Dr., Bolingbrook

• Thursday, October 25, 6:30 p.m., Oak Brook Hills Marriott Resort, 3500 Midwest Rd., Oak Brook

• Tuesday, October 30, 2 p.m., Central DuPage Hospital, 25 Winfield Rd., Winfield.

These events are free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served. Space is limited. For more information or to reserve your seat, please call 877-585-0125.