Breaking News Bar
updated: 11/21/2012 10:45 AM


Success - Article sent! close
Morgan Piasecki

PLAINFIELD, IL, Nov 1, 2012 -- Baseball runs in the blood of Plainfield resident Marilyn Farmer, 65, sister of Chicago White Sox relief pitcher-turned radio announcer, Ed Farmer. Late last year, she was crushed when a shoulder injury left her unable to play catch with her grandson.

"My doctor told me that my baseball days were over after an MRI showed I had a severely torn rotator cuff," said Farmer. "I just cried."

Farmer injured her shoulder in a fall at a post office when she was mailing Christmas presents to her relatives. The pain was so debilitating that she was unable to get dishes out of the cupboard, dress herself or brush her hair. Her orthopedic surgeon told her he wasn't trained to perform the new reverse total shoulder replacement surgery, the only option that could make a significant difference in her pain and arm movement. So he referred her to shoulder specialist Dr. Brian Forsythe of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush. Dr. Forsythe, who holds clinical hours at Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield, is among a handful of physicians in the Midwest experienced in performing this procedure. He identified her as a candidate for the reverse prosthetic because her rotator cuff was inoperable.

Like Marilyn, patients who are candidates for this procedure include those who have a completely torn or failed rotator cuff; severe arthritis; previous shoulder replacement that failed; significant pain with restricted movement in the shoulder; and/or no other viable options for treatment

"The reverse total shoulder surgery is ideal for those like Marilyn, who have no other options to relieve pain and restore function to injured shoulders," said Dr. Forsythe. "Ten years ago, there was nothing at all that could be done for conditions like this. I am excited to present this new option to my patients."

Patients with large rotator cuff tears present a surgical challenge to relieve pain and restore shoulder function. A traditional shoulder replacement involves substituting a damaged ball and socket of the shoulder with a prosthesis. The new ball is placed upwards so it fits into the new socket at top of the shoulder blade (scapula). A reverse shoulder replacement uses an artificial device to replace the damaged shoulder joint in a reversed manner so the ball and socket are positioned at the bottom of the shoulder with the ball facing downward into the socket. This offers a substitute for the absent action of the rotator cuff by making the deltoid muscle (located on the outer shoulder) do the work.

In August 2012, Farmer underwent the surgery. Although she is still receiving physical therapy, she says her condition is vastly improved. "In my case, it has improved my quality of life," said Farmer. "I am already better than I was before the surgery and I can't wait to begin throwing the ball again."

About Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush

Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush offers comprehensive, unparalleled, orthopedic services. The physicians at MOR treat thousands of orthopedic patients each year with problems ranging from the most common to the most complex. MOR's reputation as a leader in specialized orthopedic patient care, education and research has been recognized by several national journals. U.S. News & World Report ranks the orthopedic program at Rush University Medical Center as the top program in Illinois. MOR has offices at: Rush University Medical Center; Prairie Medical Center, Westchester; Central DuPage Hospital, Winfield; and Rush Oak Park Hospital. For more information, log on to, or call 877-MDBONES.