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Home > Trusted expertise leads surgeon's father to OrthoKansas for care
The pain in Rolla Goodyear’s shoulders had been bothering him for more than 20 years. Having been diagnosed with arthritis in his late 30s, his limited range of motion, coupled with the pain, was keeping him from doing some of the things he wanted to do.
“I was a banker early in my career and now working in full-time ministry, my work isn’t necessarily high impact so I kept putting off surgery. I was young when my shoulders went bad, so I’d get injections every once in a while to take care of the symptoms,” he said.
In the early 2000s, Rolla underwent arthroscopic debridement on his right shoulder. This minimally invasive surgery is used to remove tissue in the shoulder joint that’s been damaged by arthritis, overuse or injury. Following the procedure, his pain persisted and was controllable with the use of NSAIDs like Advil and Aleve, but Rolla’s range of motion became more and more limited.
“I had trouble doing everyday things that involved doing anything above my head. Putting on a button up shirt or a coat was next to impossible,” he said. “I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do.”
Fortunately, Rolla was able to turn to someone close that he trusted to give him the best advice possible. He shared his symptoms with his son, Adam Goodyear, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at OrthoKansas.
“The providers in our group provide the highest-quality orthopedic and musculoskeletal care in the region,” Dr. Goodyear said. “Having partners that you trust to provide this level of care for your family members is a comforting feeling, so I knew that recommending Dr. Stull for my dad’s care was the right thing.”
Based on that recommendation, Rolla sought out orthopedic surgeon Douglass Stull, MD, at OrthoKansas (who he affectionately calls Dr. Doug) for an assessment. Dr. Stull said that a physical examination and imaging showed that Rolla’s shoulders were about the worst he’d ever seen.
“One of the things I look for when determining when to recommend a shoulder replacement is how much bone the patient has left to work with. The shoulder doesn’t have as much bone as the hip or knee because the socket is relatively small,” Dr. Stull said. “You can’t build a house on a bed of sand. You’ve got to have a good foundation and Rolla’s wasn’t good.”
In addition to the pain and bone loss in the joint, Dr. Stull also looked at the range of motion in Rolla’s shoulders. His limited range resulted in functional deficits for the simple activities of daily living such as getting dressed or brushing his hair or teeth, combined with his other symptoms led Dr. Stull to recommend a shoulder replacement in short order. Though it wasn’t ideal, Rolla waited four more years before scheduling his surgery.
“The pain wasn’t constant and I could control it, so I just kept putting it off. In 2021, I just didn’t want to live with the pain anymore. I went back to see Dr. Doug and when he saw the X-rays, my shoulders had gotten much worse,” he said.
Based on the continued deterioration of the joint, Dr. Stull scheduled Rolla for a reverse total shoulder arthroplasty. This surgery is for people who have advanced shoulder arthritis and whose rotator cuff is either torn beyond repair or doesn’t work for some other reason. Reverse shoulder replacement has a socket where the humeral head (ball) is normally located and a ball where the glenoid (socket) is normally located. A stem is placed into the shaft of the humerus and then a plastic socket is secured on top. A metal base plate secured by screws is placed into the glenoid and a metal alloy ball secured to the plate.
“When a patient chooses to have surgery on their dominant shoulder first, it’s because it hurts more and they want to regain its use as soon as they can. Rolla chose to have his left shoulder replaced first, even though he’s right-handed. His thinking was that if something didn’t go the way he expected, his dominant side wouldn’t be impacted,” Dr. Stull said.
After the decision was made to operate on his left shoulder, Rolla’s surgery was scheduled. It took place at the LMH Health Main Campus in January 2022.
“I told Dr. Doug that I trusted him. I said, ‘Surgeries aren’t always perfect and things can go wrong, but I trust you to do the best you can and I’ll leave the healing up to God.’ I think I caught him a little off guard,” he chuckled.
The surgery went well, though it was made more difficult than others that Dr. Stull had performed due to Rolla’s extensive bone loss and anatomy.
“The surgery was like a wrestling match because of the difficulty we had getting to the socket and exposing the joint,” he explained. “When there’s a difficult exposure, the patient’s post-operative pain is going to be worse because we do more retracting and that causes trauma. You’re foolhardy if you don’t expect to have real pain after surgery for two to three days, but there’s a difference. They don’t experience the arthritic pain that’s been so bad for so long and they’re excited when that’s gone.”
Rolla said immediately following the surgery, Leighton Miller, a nurse practitioner at OrthoKansas, came to see him, followed by Dr. Stull. They said that while the surgery was difficult, it was easier than they’d anticipated. He spent the night in the hospital and was discharged the next afternoon.
His first follow-up appointment at OrthoKansas was the week after surgery. Five weeks out, Rolla returned to the clinic and also had an appointment with occupational therapist Carol Ryan. They were all very pleased with his progress.
“Carol took measurements, had me perform some movement and her eyes were huge. She said that I was farther along and in better shape than some patients she’s seen who were a year out from their surgery,” Rolla explained. ”She gave me some things to do to improve my range of motion and told me to come back a couple weeks later for some strengthening exercises.”
Dr. Stull shared a bright prognosis for Rolla’s shoulder replacement, with a functional shoulder that’s 90 to 100 percent pain-free. The replacement should last for 15 to 20 years, putting Rolla well into his golden years.
“I’m excited to see Rolla get back to the quality of life he had before his symptoms caused it to deteriorate. While he’ll still have restrictions – I wouldn’t recommend any competitive weightlifting – that shoulder will provide a much more pain-free future,” he said.
Treating and operating on any patient weighs on a surgeon, but when that patient is part of the OrthoKansas family, the responsibility feels that much greater.
“Any time a partner trusts you with themselves or their family members, it means the world. There’s no better compliment I could receive,” Dr. Stull shared.
Having been a first-hand witness to his impeccable clinical skills, Dr. Goodyear didn’t have any qualms about recommending Dr. Stull’s care for his father. He knew it was the right fit.
“I’m amazed every day with the quality of care that all of my partners provide. I now have that experience as a patient’s family member which just solidified how great this group is,” Dr. Goodyear said. “If you’re taken care of at OrthoKansas, you can rest assured that we’ll use each and every one of the providers’ expertise to treat your musculoskeletal problem. I’m not sure there’s any more powerful endorsement than a surgeon having a family member operated on by one of their partners.”
While it will be necessary for Rolla to have both shoulders replaced, the surgery can only be performed on one shoulder at a time. Dr. Stull shared that in his experience that means at least a three month wait between procedures.
“Some patients want to have their second shoulder replacement done at the six week mark. I tell them that as soon as they can successfully perform all the activities of daily living, we’ll be ready to do the other one,” he said.
When it’s time for that second surgery, Rolla plans to return to Dr. Stull for care. He knows that the team at OrthoKansas is committed to improving the quality of life for their patients.
“From my observation and experience with care, LMH Health and OrthoKansas are committed to providing the best healthcare in northeast Kansas,” he said. “The commitment to care and excellence from everyone from the nurses, staff, administration – even the lab staff who administered my COVID test prior to surgery - it can’t be topped anywhere at all in the region. They’re all at the top of their game.”
Autumn is the marketing manager and content strategist at LMH Health.
For media inquiries related to LMH Health contact: Amy Northrop Director of Communication Phone: 785-505-2931 Email: Amy.Northrop@lmh.org
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