As Boomers age, joint replacements soar

Dr. John Costouros, an orthopedic surgeon at Kaiser San Jose who did Rhynes’ shoulder replacements, said he mostly welcomes research into new technology. Shoulder surgery in particular is still a relatively new field, and the technology has improved greatly over the past decade, he said.

Costouros went to Switzerland in the 1990s to learn a technique known as “reverse shoulder replacement,” which has been widely used in Europe for decades but won FDA approval only in 2004. The procedure reverses the position of the ball and socket of the shoulder joint, allowing patients with injuries like torn rotator cuffs to get artificial joints that wouldn’t have worked on them before.

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SF Chronicle 2010 – VIEW PDF