The Gift of Movement Patricia Razzano

Patricia Razzano, 66, lives in Laguna Niguel in Orange County. She’s a successful resort and spa specialty sales representative. She’s a wife, a mother to three daughters and a grandmother of three. She’s fiercely independent, confident and doesn’t like to complain. To call her busy is an understatement. So, it makes sense that when she developed chronic shoulder pain, she powered through the discomfort.  

In time, however, the pain was too much and Patricia was forced to seek medical help. She worked for Adidas and Nordstrom’s when she was younger and would routinely lift bags that weighed up to 50 pounds. This left her shoulder overworked and completely strained as an older adult. Her arthritis didn’t help either. 

She started off by getting pain injection shots in her shouldeWoman with yoga matr. But her condition progressively worsened. Finally, in 2018, Patricia elected for shoulder replacement surgery, known as shoulder arthroplasty. She hoped this procedure would put her on the road to a pain free life and conclude her shoulder pain saga. 

Sadly, her shoulder pain persisted.  

Then, in 2021, while riding her bike to the beach, she came upon a notorious corner of the bike trail she was on and took a nasty fall, shattering her shoulder prosthesis. The pain was excruciating.  

Doctors removed the broken prosthesis fragments from her shoulder after her fall, but they still could not tell her why she was always in pain. She saw at least four different doctors and sports medicine specialists in Orange County. Many simply wanted to cut her shoulder open again to find out what the problem was. But she never felt comfortable or confident in their ability to help her, and it didn’t seem like they truly cared or understood her as a person. 

Then one day Patricia went to see her primary care doctor. She walked into his office and he exclaimed, “I found the surgeon for you: Dr. Itamura.” 

John Minoru Itamura MD specializes in shoulder and elbow orthopedic surgery. He trained at the Keck School of Medicine at USC, graduating in 1989. Today, he is the director of the Kerlan-Jobe Adult Shoulder and Elbow Reconstruction Fellowship and the team physician for the Los Angeles Angels. Adventist Health White Memorial is incredibly honored to have such an esteemed surgeon at our medical facility. 

“When I went to him, he explained everything,” Patricia says when asked about her first visit with Dr. Itamura. “It was the clarity of him seeing what I was feeling. I’d been in horrible pain for a year and substantial pain previously. It was such a confidence-booster to have somebody look at my X-ray and tell me exactly what was wrong, although it was challenging to remove the previous prosthesis.” 

Dr. Itamura explained that the problem was with the humeral stem component from Patricia’s previous shoulder prosthesis. The humeral stem component gets inserted into the humerus bone during replacement surgery. Patricia’s new stem had moved away from the bone and it was much longer than the current stems used in shoulder replacement surgery. Also, the implant ball, which serves as the humeral head at the top of the humerus, should sit snugly into the joint socket. Patricia’s, however, was completely shattered. 

She left her consultation knowing that Dr. Itamura was her surgeon and they set a date for surgery.  

The day came in late August and Patricia wasn’t nervous. She felt God in her life orchestrating these events in her favor. In fact, as she was rolled into surgery a nurse leaned in close, looked into her eyes, and said, “I don’t want you to worry because I’m praying for you.”  

Surgery was successful. Dr. Itamura repaired Patricia’s shoulder and updated her shoulder prosthesis to the latest model. At Dr. Itamura’s urging, Patricia eats a healthy diet high in protein and vegetables. Within six months to a year she should be pain free, have full range of motion and have no significant strength limitations. She’ll be back in her weekly Pilates class and walking her dog along the Harbor. But she’ll most likely take a much more modest approach with her shoulder moving forward. 

“It is painful, but it’s a part of the healing,” Patricia says when asked about her recovery. “I think the future is going to be really good because this is temporary.” 

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