“Better Than Before”

Knoxville Man “Flies High” After 3D Double Shoulder Replacement Surgery at Parkwest

Ross Matthews standing in front of small personal airplane.
Ross Matthews is back to his favorite leisure activity of flying planes after two total shoulder replacement surgeries at Parkwest Medical Center. Thanks to the expert and caring hands of the surgical staff, he now feels “better than before.”

Retired business owner Ross Matthews knows how to evaluate good customer service from all angles. When he underwent double shoulder replacement surgery at Parkwest Medical Center with custom-made 3D parts in 2022, he was more than pleased with the results. Thanks to the expertise of the surgeons and staff, he is back to enjoying his activities and feels “better than before.”

As the owner of a North American-based manufacturing company, Matthews was accustomed to flying to his customers all around the continent before retirement. He was in the air on a weekly basis for business and, after retiring, continues to take regular “joy rides” at 28,000 feet. However, his shoulder pain began to encroach on his lifestyle. When the pain got to the point that he couldn’t lift his arms, he knew something had to be done. Matthews reports enduring soreness and pain in his right shoulder for more than a decade. He says, “I just powered through the discomfort. That went on for years, mostly in my right shoulder. I didn’t have trouble in my left shoulder until recently. It suddenly went from fine to unbearable pain.”

Seeking Expert Advice

Headshot of Justin Kennon, MD.
Justin Kennon, MD

In November 2021, Matthews sought relief from his shoulder pain and was referred to Justin Kennon, MD, orthopedic surgeon and shoulder and elbow specialist at Parkwest Medical Center. Dr. Kennon reports, “Mr.Matthews presented with advanced shoulder arthritis of both shoulders. He had a significant decrease i n range of motion, and the discomfort bothered him both at night and with daily activities. After an evaluation, we determined to proceed with a procedure called anatomic stemless total shoulder arthroplasty. ‘Anatomic’ refers to the 3D custom-made parts. ‘Stemless’ refers to the way the implant fits into the joint. Previous methods involved a stem going into the bone, but with stemless technology, there is less damage to the bone and tissue, which helps the patient recover faster.” He adds, “We utilized both 3D planning and custom 3D-printed shoulder technology. For almost all of my patients, we use this 3D planning technology to create a custom shoulder implant. This technology helps us to customize the parts to the patients’ anatomy and allows them to have more function, better range of motion, less pain and a longer life span of the implant.”

At Parkwest Medical Center

In February 2022 , Matthews underwent a total shoulder replacement surgery on  his left shoulder. Following surgery, Matthews kept his movements to a minimum and followed doctors’ orders. He was in a sling for six weeks and attended physical therapy sessions. Matthews t old Dr. Kennon he needed to be able to apply 75 pounds of force with his arms so he could get back into his airplane. He laughs because on the same day as his six-week follow-up appointment, he had recovered so well that he was up in the air flying his personal airplane.

In fact, the retiree felt so good about his recovery, he asked Dr. Kennon when the soonest possible date was to have the other shoulder joint replaced so he could feel better on his right side, too. “Mr. Matthews had lived with this pain for so long that he had become immune to it and forgotten what his shoulders felt like without pain,” says Dr. Kennon. “He was anxious to proceed with getting the other side done, and we did the surgeries about four months apart.”

Both operations were outpatient total joint replacements that did not require an overnight stay at the hospital. Dr. Kennon adds, “By using the stemless technology along with 3D technology, most patients can go home the same day. Using this technology lowers the risk of complications and infection, and allows the patient to rest and recover at home.”

Matthews attended several more months of physical therapy for his other shoulder before being released from the surgeon’s care. He says from intake to discharge, the staff took attentive, careful watch over him, and he thanks them for being kind and helpful during his operations. Matthews describes Dr. Kennon as caring, straight-forward, highly skilled and fastidious about infection control.

“It was Life-Changing”

“This experience has been life – changing,” Matthews says. He is enjoying retirement with his wife and is back to his normal activities, including flying and lifting weights at the gym. “I feel better than I did before, definitely at 100 percent. I have had fantastic results.” He says, “Before, my pain was excruciating. I didn’t have much trauma afterward, and my easy recovery was due to Dr. Kennon’s amazing skill. I got great care from before the operation to all the way through and afterward. It’s a testament to him and the whole team. I couldn’t be happier.” Dr. Kennon says, “He did wonderfully. This type of good outcome is a combination of a
great hospital, a good surgical team, a compliant patient and a steady therapist to work with in the months following. I give Mr. Matthews credit for being extremely dedicated during his recovery.  Our goal is always to help people get back to the things they enjoy. As a surgeon, that is extremely rewarding. It’s why I wake up and go to work, to help people better quality of life.”

Benefits of 3D Custom Shoulder Technology

Whether its 3D custom-made implants or 3D mixed reality treatment in the operating room, a 3D plan is individualized for each patient. Parkwest Medical Center uses the latest technological advancements to provide surgeons with real-time visual guidance in total shoulder surgery. These tools help surgeons achieve advanced accuracy and precision, allowing for simple adjustments, minimally invasive techniques and
implant alignment personalized to your unique anatomy. Benefits of 3D technology include minimized pain during recovery and less need for pain  medication, lowered risk of complications, less blood loss and quicker return to daily activities.

What is the Parkwest Joint Replacement Center?

The Parkwest Joint Replacement Center is a specially designed program for total knee and total hip replacement patients. Patients become a part of their medical care team by being involved in  education about their procedure from before surgery to discharge and recovery. For more information about the Joint Replacement Center or a physician referral, call 865-374-PARK.

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