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Saint Francis Offers Rotator Cuff Sparing Total Shoulder Replacement


Dignity Health Saint Francis Memorial Hospital now offers minimally invasive, rotator cuff-sparing total shoulder replacement. This groundbreaking technique leaves the rotator cuff tendons completely intact, allowing patients improved post-surgical function, substantially less pain, and a quicker recovery. 

“This new rotator cuff-sparing technique will be a real game-changer for patients needing total shoulder replacement,” said David Klein, MD, MBA, president of Saint Francis Memorial Hospital. “We are thrilled to add this innovative procedure to the lineup of advanced surgical techniques and treatment options offered by Saint Francis Orthopedic Institute.”

Robert Purchase, MD, medical director of shoulder surgery at Saint Francis Orthopedic Institute, was the first to use this highly specialized technique in California. In traditional shoulder replacement, a surgeon cuts through the rotator cuff tendons to gain access to the shoulder. Using this method, Dr. Purchase reaches the shoulder joint through a small opening between the tendons. Post-surgery, patients are in a sling for only a few days and can start rehab right away.  Patients can achieve an increased range of motion and even full mobility in as little as three to five weeks as opposed to three to six months.

“I am a big proponent of helping my patients explore non-surgical options first,” said Dr. Purchase, “but if those fail and their pain continues, I am excited to now offer this minimally invasive option for shoulder replacement surgery. With this technique, I can help patients get back to living their lives pain-free faster than with other surgical methods.”

The shoulder is the body’s most movable joint, and therefore it also is one of the joints most vulnerable to pain and instability. The most common causes of shoulder pain include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fracture, instability, and tendon inflammation or tear. When non-surgical treatment options have been exhausted, Saint Francis Orthopedic Institute also offers minimally invasive shoulder arthroscopy, traditional total shoulder joint replacement, and reverse should joint replacement, in addition to the rotator cuff-sparing technique. 

About Saint Francis Memorial Hospital

Dignity Health Saint Francis Memorial Hospital is an accredited, not-for-profit community hospital that has been providing exceptional healthcare in San Francisco for more than 100 years. Located atop Nob Hill, near downtown San Francisco, Saint Francis is home to the Bothin Burn Center, the largest in Northern California, the Center for Sports Medicine, and the Saint Francis Orthopedic Institute. With its close proximity to downtown San Francisco, Saint Francis also specializes in Occupational Health and Emergency Medicine. Saint Francis has been designated as a Blue Distinction Center for Spine and Hip/Knee Replacement Surgery and is a Certified Stroke Center by the Joint Commission.