An orthopaedic team at Cayman’s Health City has celebrated a regional first.
A new minimally invasive shoulder procedure has been successfully carried out at Health City Cayman Islands and it gives hope to athletes injured in contact sports.
The prospect of never playing rugby again was a very real one for Edward Westin.
The Youth Development Manager at Cayman Rugby Club had seen his own playing career blighted by repeatedly dislocating his shoulder.
He explained: “once I injured it for the first time it was a lot easier for it to have repeat dislocations. The first time was playing rugby… My other shoulder started, that was coming out for the last few years, I guess, tons of dislocation.”
An encounter at a sponsorship event with Dr Alvin Almeida – Health City’s Chief Orthopaedic Surgeon – led to a regional first.
Mr. Westin underwent minimally invasive surgery – the first of its kind in the Caribbean and not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.
“The moment I saw his X-rays, I had no doubt he was going to require the laterjet procedure; it was an extremely challenging case but an extremely good case to do the arthoscopic laterjet,” said Dr Alwin.
The surgery, called “arthroscopic latarjet” involved transferring part of the bone attached to the bicep to the surface of the socket joint. The challenge was to avoid losing the mobility of the bicep and interfere with vital blood vessels.
Latarjet has been done for decades, but Dr. Alwin’s operation was innovative, due to it being only minimally invasive.
“Most surgeons do it with the open technique where you open it up in the front and so you have an incision along the crease of the shoulder,” Dr. Alwin explained.
And it was that, specifically, that has caught the eye of other rugby players.
Henry Warnock-Smith’s repeated shoulder injuries forced him to call time prematurely on rugby, a sport he loved.
He described Mr. Westin’s procedure as revolutionary:
“The way they were able to clean up the shoulder, lock everything back in in no time at all with a much cleaner result, seemed absolutely brilliant, but I’m a product of the old way,” he lamented.
For Edward, however, the game’s not over just yet.
“He’s doing extremely well with his rehab, he has already achieved a near complete range of movement and has not had any instability so far,” said Dr. Alwin.
Edward added: “now that the bone is fully fused, I can really start to strengthen it up gradually.”
He hopes to be strong enough to play in March.
The arthroscopic latarjet procedure just bought him extra time.