Skip to main content


Reverse Shoulder Replacement Now Offered in Spearfish

Jan 02, 2020 07:30AM ● By MED Magazine

 People in the Spearfish, South Dakota area with shoulder problems now have a new option for relief thanks to orthopedic surgeon Ray Jensen, DO. Dr. Jensen is the first in the area to offer reverse shoulder replacement at the Regional Health Hospital in Spearfish. 

The reverse operation, which was FDA-approved in 2003, switches the ball and socket of the shoulder joint, affixing a metal ball to the socket and a plastic cup to the upper end of the humerus. Although the operation itself is more technically complex, it is a promising alternative for people who are not candidates for standard shoulder replacement because of rotator cuff injuries, complex fractures, severe arthritis or glenoid bone stock problems. 

“Rotator cuff tears are really what this procedure was designed for,” says Jensen. “If you have a rotator cuff tear, you are not a candidate for standard replacement because the joint is not going to be stable.”. 

Instead of relying on the rotator cuff to hold the joint in place, the reverse operation uses the larger deltoid muscle to lift the arm. Patients sacrifice some range of motion, especially in forward elevation, but they end up with more strength in the shoulder.

“We see a lot of ranchers who do a lot of overhead activities and wear out their joints,” says Jensen. “These are tough people out here. If they do get a rotator cuff tear, they might not see anyone for it until it gets really bad. This is a very effective treatment for them.”

Jensen mastered the reverse shoulder procedure during his sports medicine fellowship at the University of New Mexico. He now uses this approach more often than not.

“In my practice, I tend to do reverses greater than 50 percent of the time,” says Dr. Jensen. “Most surgeons tend to do the traditional shoulder procedure, but I just find that I have better results with reverses. Also, if you go the traditional route and your rotator cuff tears later on, you end up having to have an additional surgery.”

Jensen uses new augmented base plates to help spare the bone where the implant will attach without compromising fixation. Advanced options for customization, moulded implants, and 3D modeling have helped to make this complex operation both faster and more effective for a wider range of patients.

“Of all the surgeries I do, this is my favorite one,” says Dr. Jensen. “People go to the gym and cross country ski and don’t even take pain pills.”