Fitness fanatic finds relief from reverse shoulder procedure

Reaching for Relief

Just eight weeks after her shoulder replacement, exercise enthusiast Susan Frankowski took a cardio and strength-training class. Feeling zero pain, the 73-year-old was back to her active lifestyle.

But in the months leading up to her surgery, Frankowski was in constant severe pain. She couldn’t sleep on her side or reach above her head without feeling an intense ache in her shoulder.

When a friend recommended Sameer Nagda, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, Frankowski decided it was time to have her shoulder evaluated. And she’s glad she did. Dr. Nagda ordered X-rays and an MRI, revealing a large tear in her shoulder joint.

Fixing the Problem

To alleviate Frankowski’s joint pain and to improve her strength and range of motion, Dr. Nagda recommended reverse total shoulder replacement surgery.

“In patients who are older and who have bigger tears, oftentimes a reverse shoulder procedure can provide a more reliable result than a rotator cuff repair can,” says Dr. Nagda. “Instead of trying to repair her rotator cuff, we offered her an option that changes the physics of the shoulder and allows the deltoid muscle to function as a rotator cuff muscle to allow her to lift her arm.”

The surgery took a little over an hour, and Frankowski went home the next day. After six weeks of physical therapy, she regained her confidence to exercise again.

“Dr. Nagda is not only a very personable person but very knowledgeable, and he is a delight to work with,” says Frankowski. “He is a ray of sunshine; he’s very enthusiastic about what he does and he′s very professional.”

Staying Fit

Now, just a little more than a year after her surgery, Frankowski is back to exercising five days a week. On any given day, she lifts weights, walks on a treadmill, and enjoys cardio, yoga and pilates classes.

“I have 100 percent range of motion,” says Frankowski, “and I am back to doing everything I ever wanted to do, pain-free.”

Team Doctor

Dr. Nagda, MD, will expand his medical practice to work as the team physician for the Washington Nationals major league baseball team. For four years, Dr. Nagda has served as the team physician for the minor league team, the Potomac Nationals. Having completed a fellowship in sports medicine at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles, and certified by the American Society of Sports Medicine, Dr. Nagda is highly trained in the field of sports medicine.

“My job is to be there for players if they get hurt before, during or after a game,” says Dr. Nagda. “It is the role of the physician, the trainers and the therapists to make sure that the athlete′s care is coordinated properly so that they can get back to playing as soon as possible, and as safely as possible.”


To schedule an appointment or take a tour at Inova Joint Replacement Center at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, call 703.664.7493.

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