Mission




Shoulder prosthesis system restores
arm motion of NFL superstar

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Football superstar Fran Tarkenton could have had shoulder replacement surgery anywhere the procedure was performed. He chose the Health Science Center and the surgical genius of Charles A. Rockwood, Jr., MD, professor of orthopaedics and inventor of the Global™ Total Shoulder Prosthesis System.

The most widely used shoulder replacement system in the world, Dr. Rockwood’s invention is modular in design and is manufactured in a variety of sizes to fit virtually any shoulder replacement candidate. Usually these candidates suffer from either a fracture or a form of arthritis, which can cause extreme pain and stiffness and diminish a patient’s range of motion.

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"What people really want," Dr. Rockwood said, "is relief from pain. With the Global prosthesis they will gain more motion than they had before the surgery. The shoulder never returns to ‘normal,’ but the patients end up with a functional shoulder and pain relief."

Most patients require a three-day hospital stay, and they start an exercise program the same day as the surgery. "If patients follow the recommended exercise regimen, most of them can begin to hit golf balls around eight weeks following surgery," Dr. Rockwood said. "They’re playing real golf after 12 weeks."

Tarkenton boasted, "Six weeks after the surgery I shot an 81." When only 16 years old, Tarkenton suffered a dislocated shoulder which diminished the passing ability of the future quarterback of the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants. Despite the progressive shoulder pain, Tarkenton set National Football League records for most career touchdown passes and most career passing yardage, records held until 1995.

Even after retiring in 1978, his shoulder pain continued to intensify; eventually, he had a totally dysfunctional right shoulder. In 1995 he traveled to the Health Science Center from Atlanta, Ga. for the surgery.

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