Ascension Seton Medical Center


October 2023

Ascension Texas surgeon uses custom-printed 3D shoulder joint to help golfer get back to the game

Jay Holland was playing golf in May 2022 when he slid down some wet grass on a golf course hill, caught himself and jammed his right shoulder.

“It hurt at first but then didn’t last so I didn’t worry about it too much,” he said. “Later in the summer I had physical therapy, but by October it was hurting again, especially at night.”

The problem: Jay talked to different surgeons and got a steroid injection in mid-December but the relief didn’t last long.

The solution: In February 2023, Jay met orthopedic surgeon Rob Graham MD, at Ascension Seton in Austin, Texas. While Dr. Graham agreed with the other surgeons on the problem, he had a much more advanced solution – a custom reverse shoulder replacement. This procedure uses imaging from a CT scan to create a custom shoulder joint, which is then created using a 3D printer. This custom fit means less need for shaving of the bone to make it fit, less pain and an easier recovery.

A doctor who loves technology: Dr. Graham graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before going to medical school to be an orthopedic surgeon. His love of technology led him to be a consultant on the design team of a medical device company that creates a custom shoulder joint that fits each patient’s unique anatomy.

“It’s a patient-matched implant design,” Dr. Graham said. “We use a special CT scan, put the information into 3D software and it prints out the custom implant, like a jigsaw puzzle piece. It’s made of pyrocarbon rather than plastic, which is better for the joint. It has the hardness of bone but is much better than metal, which is too hard."

Compassionate, personalized care: “I received great care at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin,” Jay said. “I stayed the night in the hospital for observation, was comfortable and was released the next day. And I only took two pain pills. From my results and rehab, I‘ve been really pleased. It’s way beyond what others achieve after shoulder replacement.

”As an active retiree who swims, fishes and keeps up his lake house, Jay said he’s looking forward to playing golf again soon. “I can already do short shots now,” he said.

The bottom line: Innovations in care like a custom-printed replacement shoulder joint help Ascension and our providers meet the needs and expectations of those we serve.

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