Getting His Shoulder Back Up to Par

When Dover resident and retired periodontist Steven Nemcic, DDS, MS, could barely open a door without discomfort in his left shoulder, he turned to his primary care physician for advice. He says years of performing dental procedures and extending his shoulder as he reached for dental instruments behind his patients’ heads likely caused his shoulder pain. Dr. Nemcic was referred to Bayhealth Division of Orthopaedics Medical Director and Orthopaedic Surgeon Stephen Manifold, MD.

An X-ray showed that Dr. Nemcic had arthritis in his left shoulder that damaged the cartilage in his shoulder joint. Arthritis in this location causes cartilage to start wearing down on the ball and/or socket sides of the shoulder joint. Dr. Manifold says that the most common symptoms of shoulder arthritis include limited range of motion, stiffness of the shoulder, pain with activities, a feeling of grinding, swelling of the joint, or tenderness around the joint.

Dr. Nemcic wasn’t happy when he heard the news that he needed a total shoulder replacement. “We decided to try Cortisone injections in my shoulder to help relieve some pain until surgery was absolutely necessary,” recalled Dr. Nemcic. The anti-inflammatory injection may help to decrease pain and improve function for some patients. “I started getting the shots in 2015 and went every four to six months until I knew it was time for surgery.”

Before moving forward with the surgery, Dr. Nemcic acted as his own advocate by researching orthopaedic surgeons in Philadelphia, talking to former patients of Dr. Manifold, and chatting with a local physical therapist. “Everyone raved about Dr. Manifold,” said Dr. Nemcic. “I heard testimonies from his other patients and they couldn’t say enough good things about him and their experiences. There was no reason for me to go anyplace else.”

To prepare for the total shoulder replacement surgery, Dr. Nemcic attended the Total Joint Replacement Class hosted by the Bayhealth Division of Orthopaedics at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent and Sussex campuses. In addition to offering patients education, the staff performs necessary screenings during the class to minimize the risk of complications during surgery. “The class was very informative,” said Dr. Nemcic, who was surprised to see so many familiar faces among his classmates.

Following a successful surgery on Nov. 14, 2018, at Bayhealth Hospital, Kent Campus, Dr. Nemcic remains pleased with his results. “When Dr. Manifold and I looked at the X-ray of my shoulder and how well the implant was placed, we were both very happy,” said Dr. Nemcic. “I have friends in North Carolina who had the same surgery around the same time as I did, and they are still experiencing pain. I am sleeping better, have strength in my left arm, and I’m back to playing golf and gardening without pain. All of the mobility in my shoulder is back.”

“My care plan for Dr. Nemcic was straightforward — I wanted to restore his range of motion and give him the best possible outcome,” said Dr. Manifold, who is fellowship-trained in orthopaedic surgery and is boardcertified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. “Living with shoulder pain can seem unbearable at times, and being able to give patients relief gives me a lot of satisfaction. I’m thrilled he trusted me to perform the surgery.”

Reflecting on his entire experience, from his first office visit with Dr. Manifold through his rehabilitation therapy, to now living pain-free following his surgery, Dr. Nemcic says his care team was attentive, cared about his problem, answered his questions, and delivered excellent results. “Dr. Manifold gave me a new shoulder and my rehab therapist taught me how to regain its use.” Better yet, he’s happy that he received this level of top-notch care right in his community.

Visit to learn more about total joint replacement surgeries available at Bayhealth.

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