For decades, retired nurse Lynn Rhyne enthusiastically delivered on the
demands of providing excellent patient care. The seventy-two-year-old
has enjoyed a satisfying career in nursing that spans 50 years. Throughout
her career, she spent 27 years being a nurse educator, including her current
role as a continuing education consultant for the Georgia Nurses Association.
Despite practicing proper body mechanics, Ms. Rhyne’s long career
in the field of nursing eventually led to problems with her right shoulder.
She used this shoulder most frequently in lifting, balancing and moving
patients around since she is right-handed. By summer 2020, Ms. Rhyne was
only able to sleep on her back and suffered great discomfort in performing
everyday tasks that involved reaching or lifting with her dominant arm.
“I was in pain and afraid I would start dropping things,” she says.
A Reverse Approach
When physical therapy failed to provide relief, Ms. Rhyne sought help from
Beau Sasser, M.D., board-certified orthopaedic surgeon at
Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery and medical director of the Health System’s Sports Medicine program.
Following a medical evaluation and imaging scans, Dr. Sasser determined
that Ms. Rhyne was an ideal candidate for total reverse shoulder arthroplasty.
“She failed conservative treatments, and her pain was decreasing
her quality of life because she could not use her arm,” says Dr. Sasser.
The operation is unlike a conventional shoulder replacement where a device
is placed to mimic the normal anatomy of the shoulder.
Total reverse shoulder arthroplasty is beneficial when there’s no functioning rotator cuff present.
Dr. Sasser explains, “The shoulder joint has to be changed. The ball replacement
is instead fit onto the shoulder blade and the cuff is placed on the arm
using the deltoid muscle. It’s a tighter fit and compensates for
arthritis and loss of the rotator cuff.” Essentially, reverse total
shoulder replacement patients are able to rely on the deltoid muscle,
instead of the rotator cuff, to power and position their arm. The operation
is also computer-assisted. “Preoperative scans allow us to fully
understand the anatomy for the surgery. A CT scan and 3D model allows
me to confirm anatomy and placement during the operation,” adds
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, potential candidates
for reverse total shoulder replacement may have the following conditions
- A completely torn rotator cuff that cannot be repaired
- A cuff tear arthropathy
- A previous shoulder replacement that was unsuccessful
- Severe shoulder pain and difficulty lifting your arm away from your side
or over your head
- A complex fracture of the shoulder joint
- A chronic shoulder dislocation
- A tumor of the shoulder joint
- Other treatments, such as rest, medications, cortisone injections and physical
therapy, have not relieved shoulder pain
Ms. Rhyne felt confident in scheduling the reverse shoulder replacement.
She says, “Dr. Sasser was professional and caring. He explained
the operation to me and allowed me to ask questions.” Managing patient
expectations is important. Dr. Sasser states “I have to explain
there will be limitations and that the main purpose of the surgery is
pain relief. I inform patients that they will regain some range of motion
but not necessarily a full range.” Both the April 2021 operation
and hospital experience was a success for Ms. Rhyne at Southeast Georgia
Health System. “I was impressed with the orthopaedic unit and the
nurses on staff,” she says, a meaningful sentiment shared by someone
with her own impressive patient care background.
A Model Patient
Since her surgery and completing her postoperative rehab, Ms. Rhyne has
enjoyed returning back to the many activities she loves like swimming,
traveling and playing with her grandchildren. “Dr. Sasser is impressed
with the mobility I now have with this shoulder,” she says. In fact,
Dr. Sasser is extremely pleased with the outcome so far. He exclaims,
“She’s doing excellent and enjoying a full range of motion.
She got the home run.”
Summit Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery has offices in Brunswick, St. Simons Island and St. Marys. For more information
or to schedule an appointment, call 912-466-7340 or visit