First shoulder replacement surgery performed at SMMC
CAY HILL: Frank Boekhout, a patient at St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC), was the recipient of the first (reverse) shoulder replacement surgery performed on the island. The surgery lasted 90 minutes and was performed by Dr. Ron Onstenk and the Orthopedics and Operating Room teams.
Dr. Onstenk is part of a group of eight rotating orthopedic surgeons from Groene Hart Hospital in Gouda, The Netherlands, who have worked at SMMC since the opening of the Orthopedics Clinic in 2020. Each surgeon has their own subspecialty such as hip, knee, spine, and upper extremity, which has allowed SMMC to expand Orthopedic services offered to patients. Since the start of the clinic and the expansion of the operating facilities with two brand new class 1 operating theaters and the upgrade of the existing operating theaters, SMMC has also been able to perform total hip and total knee replacements, having them recover close to home, limiting the need to travel and stay abroad for extended periods.
The main goal of a total shoulder replacement is to provide less or no pain after surgery and regain full function of the shoulder. In a standard shoulder replacement procedure, a metal ball is attached to the upper part of the humerus (arm bone), and a plastic socket is attached to the shoulder blade, following a patient’s real anatomy. In a reverse shoulder replacement, the metal ball is placed on the socket side of the joint and the socket is placed on the arm side where it is supported by a metal stem in the humerus. While most patients will receive standard total shoulder replacements, reverse total shoulder replacements tend to work better for patients with injuries such as rotator cuff injuries.
Speaking on the addition of total shoulder replacement surgeries at SMMC, Dr. Onstenk said “We see a large number of patients with shoulder problems such as tendinitis and osteoarthritis at our clinic on St. Maarten. For patients with osteoarthritis or severe fractures and breaks, shoulder replacement is a viable option if physical therapy and painkillers are no longer suitable for managing the pain. This type of surgery has gained popularity due to its excellent results after many years of development and innovations such as the “reverse” shoulder replacement that we recently performed. I am happy to be a part of SMMC’s ambition to continuously expand the medical care offered to patients on St. Maarten and surrounding islands”.
SMMC congratulates the Orthopedics team, the Operating Room team and all other teams involved in the performing of this successful surgery. The patient, Mr. Boekhout, was very pleased with the results of his surgery and the care he received at SMMC, and his post-operation results were favorable. He will undergo physical therapy for three months and is expected to regain the full function of his shoulder