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Joan L Print E-mail

Occupation – Commercial Artist, retired.  Currently, operates her own fine arts business.

Location – Aptos, California

Age – 78

Treatment – Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement


I’m a very health-conscious person. I exercise an hour as well as walk every day, I ski and pay very close attention to eating just what I should. I guess you could say my hobby is taking care of myself, especially as I’ve gotten older.

That’s why it was a bit of a shock when I had to have two major operations within a year. I incurred a trauma to my right shoulder, but I didn’t expect the damage to be as severe. The large muscle was torn off and the tendon was shredded.

My husband was a surgeon in Saratoga and taught at Stanford for many years, and knew of the wonderful reputation of Santa Cruz Orthopaedic Institute; in fact he had seen the founder Dr. Nicholas Abidi a number of years previously. I was referred to see Dr. Peter Reynolds, known as the “go-to” orthopaedist locally for shoulder surgery, to discuss my options.

Since I’ve been healthy and the trauma seemed to come out of the blue, we discussed various options and I opted to go with surgery to repair the muscle. Dr. Reynolds is one of a few doctors to even do surgery to sew back the muscles and tendon. I went through recovery and went through physical therapy with Jim Tucker of Seascape Physical Therapy, who also is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist, resulting in an additional hour of physical therapy exercise to my normal hour routine. But after three months and my dedication, the physical therapist said he had done everything he could for me – I just wasn’t progressing.

On my next visit with Dr. Reynolds, the CT scan was black – my repaired tendon had actually snapped at the top like a rubber band and just fell. So the option was a shoulder replacement. Dr. Reynolds is the only surgeon in the area who does a procedure called Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement, a newer surgery that is the only good option for a massive irreparable rotator tears like mine. He performed the surgery in spring of 2011, and along Jim Tucker, said I could be the poster girl for recovery and physical therapy following shoulder replacement. Many patients can only raise the arm overhead to 120 degrees, and I was reaching 135 degrees before I had finished all my PT appointments.

I worked in San Francisco for 40-years in the commercial art field, and concurrently ran a successful freelance art business of my own. After retiring and moving to Santa Cruz in 2004, I restarted my own business as a fine artist in the community. My shoulder injury not only sidelined my physical exercise and sports, but also prevented me from painting.   So not only am I back to all my exercise and physical activities, I have resume my painting, all without pain and with the hope of recovering virtually all my range of motion.

It was a pleasing, wonderful experience dealing with Santa Cruz Orthopaedic Institute; I can’t say enough for the staff and medical team. Reception always welcomed me warmly, informing me right away and continually about any delays. Dr. Reynolds’ physician’s assistant was wonderful—very communicative, professional and helpful. As for Dr. Reynolds, all I can say is I would adopt him if I could! He has a wonderful “bedside manner,” patiently explains everything and I had full confidence in his expertise.

I would highly recommend Santa Cruz Orthopaedic and Dr. Reynolds.  I noticed when I was in the office recently a plaque on the wall for America’s Guide to Top Orthopaedists, naming both Dr. Reynolds and Dr. Abidi. That impressed me; it is a huge advantage to have this level of expertise in our community.


Latest News

Community Talk July 28, 2014 6:30pm

Join Dr. Nicholas Abidi, M.D., Dr. Peter Reynolds, M.D. and  Dr. Christian Heywood, M.D. as they discuss knee and hip pain and the available treatment options.



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