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More personalized treatment for shoulder replacement patients using 3D modeling

Orthopedic surgeons are using 3D modeling tech to pre-plan the surgery, meaning a more individualized treatment for the patient.

BALTIMORE — 53,000 Americans have shoulder replacement surgery every year. Now, orthopedic surgeons are using 3D modeling tech to pre-plan the surgery, meaning a more individualized treatment for the patient, and restored range of motion, meaning patients can return to the activities they loved before.

64-year-old Dan Lidster lived in pain for eight years. His aching shoulder kept him awake at night, which ruined his days.

“I had to write everything down because I just couldn't remember anything. I was in this huge fog,” Lidster explained.

After a lifetime of working out, Lidster figured that arthritis was the cause, but he says he wasn’t ready for the doctor’s prescription.

“He took x-rays of it, and he said, ‘I need to replace your shoulder.’ and I mean, it was like within 15 minutes of being there,” Lidster added.

But an orthopedic surgeon at the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in the Mercy Medical Center, Gregory Gasbarro, MD, mapped out a unique approach for Lidster, starting with a computerized CT scan.

“The software program then makes a three-dimensional model of the patient's shoulder,” Dr. Gasbarro said.

The 3D model allows Dr. Gasbarro to virtually plan the position and orientation of the shoulder implant. A patient-specific guide allows doctors to customize the surgery for each patient.

“When you use the guide, what it does is it's putting you down the best column of bones, so you can have stability, and it's also pushing you in the correct direction so, you can correct the deformity," Dr. Gasbarro added.  

Dr. Gasbarro replaced Lidster’s shoulder in June 2020. Lidster says he’s faithful about stretching and has returned to working out.

“I have no issues. I can't lift as heavy weights, but I can still lift weights, and that's the important part. I can do it pain-free," Lidster said. 

Dr. Gasbarro uses the 3D imaging primarily for shoulder replacement surgeries, not for other shoulder procedures like rotator cuff repair or tendon repair.

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