Fractured but Faithful

Woman Has Full Range of Motion, No Pain After Total Shoulder Replacement at Parkwest Medical Center

Wartburg resident Freida Rogers loves the Lord and her community. As the holidays approached last December, Rogers and her husband set out to go caroling with members of her church. Her rain boots were too slick in the mud, causing her to slip and take a hard fall, landing on her left side. Days before Christmas, an X-ray confirmed she had severely fractured her left shoulder. Rogers was referred to a specialist and scheduled to undergo shoulder replacement surgery at Parkwest Medical Center.

Freida Rogers sits behind her sewing machine smiling.
Freida Rogers was afraid her shoulder injury would prevent her from performing intricate needlework. Thanks to the expertise of Justin Kennon, MD, and Parkwest Medical Center, she recovered from a successful surgery and just finished her first quilt.

Her physician was Justin Kennon, MD, a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder and elbow surgeries. He performed a computer-assisted reverse total shoulder replacement with 3D mapping on her left shoulder in January 2021. “Had she not had this newer procedure done, she would have suffered from a painful and dysfunctional shoulder for the rest of her life,” says Dr. Kennon. Rogers says Dr. Kennon explained everything clearly. “He made it simple for me to understand what he was suggesting that he do,” she says. “My rotator cuff was torn beyond repair, so now I have screws in my shoulder blades.”

A reverse total shoulder replacement is when the damaged parts of the shoulder are removed and replaced with artificial parts called implants. Using special screws, the surgeon attaches a metal ball to the scapula and plastic socket to the top of the upper arm bone. A reverse shoulder replacement enables the deltoid to become the main functioning muscle in the absence of a healthy rotator cuff.

“With this Guided Personalized Surgery (GPS) method, we are able to use computer technology and a 3D map before we even get to surgery,” explains Dr. Kennon. “This allows us to create customized implants for each patient, as well as place these replacement parts in the perfect position. That leads to better outcomes, not only in the short term, such as earlier and better joint function, but also in the long term, such as not requiring a later surgery.”

Benefits of Technology

Head shot of Dr. Kennon.
Justin Kennon, MD

Dr. Kennon says technology has enhanced surgical outcomes. “The computer-assisted procedures and GPS technology allow more options for us to help people get back to their basic and everyday activities, whether it’s mowing the lawn, playing with grandkids, cooking or doing hobbies. We did not have this technology 15 years ago, so the solution would have been a less favorable outcome. “In the last few years, we have implemented state-of-the-art technology that allows us to bring East Tennessee to the forefront of procedures like shoulder replacements, give exemplary care and be a leader in orthopedics.”

Excellent Care

Rogers arrived at Parkwest Medical Center the day of her surgery feeling frightened. “As I was being wheeled into surgery, I started crying, which really isn’t in my nature. The nurse who was with me asked if she could pray for me. Several of them put their hands on me or my hospital bed that was being wheeled down the hall as they prayed.” She proclaims, “I am a Christian, and I prayed for the Lord to help me through this.”

Healing and Recovery

“I finished physical therapy in July, and the doctor was impressed with how I progressed in that time. My goal was to be able to wash my hair and do regular tasks with my left arm, like get clothes out of the dryer,” Rogers reports. “I really didn’t have the pain I expected to have. I followed every rule, from ice to restrictions. Now, I have full range of motion and no pain, and you wouldn’t even know I had a replacement if I didn’t tell you.”

Dr. Kennon says recovering from a severe injury can make recovery more difficult. “When you’ve had a fall and a bad break, it’s more of an uphill climb. With recovery, like most things in life, you get out what you put in. Freida had a devastating injury, but worked very hard and did everything she was asked to do. Because of that, she has a great outcome and at her six-month follow-up, showed nearly perfect range of motion on her left side.”

A Time of Reflection

As a special education teacher, Rogers has taught in the classroom for 29 years and loves working with her students. Next year, after she retires, Rogers and her husband plan to travel to the western United States in a fifth-wheel trailer. She also enjoys working with her crafts, which helped her heal. She hosts a monthly crochet group and has recently taken up quilting. “I love to crochet; it’s therapy for me. I was in the process of making a baby sweater, hat and booties. With my arm still in a sling, I tried to do it, but it was taking me three times as long. Each time I tried, I could do a little more. By the time I saw Dr. Kennon, I had finished all three. He told me my crocheting is good therapy for my arm and fingers, and helped with my healing.”

baby outfit crocheted by Freida.
After reverse total shoulder surgery, Freida Rogers discovered that her hobby of crocheting helped her ability to move her arm and fingers during recovery.

Rogers says she could not have persevered through this trial without the loving support of her husband and the expert care from Dr. Kennon. “I would definitely recommend Dr. Kennon to others,” the teacher says. “In fact, I already have. He was personable, and just everything about his mannerisms put you at ease.” Dr. Kennon shares his philosophy about his patient care. “It’s looking at what we can do right now, but further, what will function look like 20 to 30 years? The goal for each patient is to provide them with the right long-standing solution that provides them with many years of good joint ability and function, allowing them to do all the things that make life worth living.”

A Leader in Orthopedics and Spine Care

Located in west Knoxville, Parkwest Medical Center is one of our area’s premier medical centers. Nationally recognized for quality by BlueCross/Blue Shield and U.S. News & World Reports, Parkwest is home to the busiest joint replacement program in Knoxville. Thousands of patients trust us each year for orthopedic surgeries, including joint replacements, fracture repairs, arthroscopies, and orthopedic and neurosurgical spine surgeries. Our physicians have access to the latest technology, including robotics and advanced imaging, to help provide out- standing care to the members of our community.

GPS for Shoulder Replacement Patients

Guided Personalized Surgery (GPS) is the latest advancement in technology that provides surgeons with real-time visual guidance in total shoulder surgery. This advanced platform combines surgeon expertise with a computer system to perform shoulder surgery with a goal of advanced accuracy and precision, allowing for simple adjustments, minimally invasive techniques and implant alignment personalized to the patient’s anatomy. Justin Kennon, MD, is passionate about resolving shoulder and elbow pain in his patients. Using innovative techniques, he prides himself on being on the cutting edge of research and technology when it comes to treating his patients. Parkwest Medical Center is currently the only
joint center in the region using this advanced technology.

Shoulder Replacement Surgery at Parkwest

Shoulder pain be debilitating. If surgical treatment is needed, there are several types of shoulder surgery that can aid in pain relief and joint function. While traditional shoulder replacement surgery mimics the body’s natural contours of the bones in a  healthy joint, a reverse shoulder replacement is done if the patient has an irreparable rotator  cuff tear. A reverse shoulder replacement enables the deltoid to become the main functioning muscle in the absence of a healthy rota- tor cuff. Call (865) 374-PARK for a physician referral
or visit to learn more.

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