Surgeon Performs First Reverse Shoulder Replacement at Franklin

March 11, 2018

Farmington, Maine


Franklin Memorial Hospital saw its first reverse shoulder replacement surgery two weeks ago, a procedure that offers new hope to patients with certain shoulder conditions.


Dr. Joseph Noonan, Jr., MD, an orthopedic surgeon who provides patient care at Franklin Health Orthopaedics and Franklin Memorial Hospital through a specialty service partnership with MaineGeneral Orthopaedics, recently performed the procedure, a first for the Farmington hospital.


The procedure, which Dr. Noonan had performed before coming to Maine, can be used to mitigate patients with failed rotator cuffs, severe shoulder arthritis, or seniors with significant pain and little to no movement in the shoulder.


In a conventional shoulder replacement, the implant device mimics the normal anatomy of the shoulder: a plastic “cup” is fitted into the shoulder socket, and a metal “ball” is attached to the top of the upper arm bone (humerus). In a reverse total shoulder replacement, the socket and metal ball are switched. The metal ball is fixed to the socket and the plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of the humerus. Instead of relying on the rotator cuff muscles to power and position the arm, the reverse total shoulder replacement relies on the deltoid muscle, thereby providing the patient with the ability to raise their hand over the head once again. The reverse shoulder arthroplasty is a more technical and complicated operation to perform.


“This was truly a collaborative effort to prepare and train our operating room staff for this exciting new procedure. This included surgical technicians, nurses, Dr. Joseph Caldwell as first assist, myself and many others working together to ensure that this patient’s surgical experience was exceptional,” said Dr. Noonan. “I look forward to performing more cases of this type of surgery, which provides outstanding results and high patient satisfaction.”


The patient-centered surgical team at Franklin Memorial Hospital uses advanced surgical procedures and pain management techniques to reduce recovery time, pain, and risk of complications so patients can quickly return to normal activities. Dr. Noonan stated that his patient would undergo about three months of physical therapy.


Dr. Noonan’s interest in orthopedics includes treatment of the shoulder and elbow, sport medicine, and general orthopedic care. After medical school he completed a shoulder and elbow surgical fellowship at WB Carrell Memorial Clinic in Dallas, and a sports medicine fellowship at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.


Franklin Health Orthopaedics is located on the 2nd floor of the Franklin Health Medical Arts Center, located on the Franklin Memorial Hospital campus. For appointments, call 778-9001.