Now, for the first time, a doctor at University Hospitals is rebuilding the shoulder using cadaver cartilage.
Mike Graham, 51, of Elyria is the first patient to have cartilage transplanted into his shoulder. For the last eight years, arthritis wore down the cartilage in his right shoulder to the point where the pain was agonizing.
"A sharp pain, like a toothache, would making me drop to the floor," Mike says.
He went to Dr. Reuben Gobezie at University Hospitals who told him about a cadaver cartilage transplant. Mike would be his first patient and the former steelworker jumped at the chance.
The procedure is performed minimally invasively and Mike only has a small scar to show for it. This lessens the chance for blood loss, infection and rotator cuff damage.
Unlike traditional shoulder replacement, which uses a metal shaft and plastic ball and socket, the cartilage can be replaced down the road if necessary.
Three weeks after surgery, Mike says the pain is gone and physical therapy has helped him regain his range of motion. He still can't lift heavy objects, but he says he feels so good sometimes he thinks he can.
Dr. Gobezie is looking for young patients with arthritic shoulders who still have some range of motion but are experiencing pain as candidates for this surgery.
If you're interested, call 1.866.UH4.CARE 1.866.844.2273.