Golfer’s Surgery Improved More than His Swing




Sinking a hole-in-one would give any golfer cause to celebrate. For James Dean, 73, achieving golf’s ultimate shot was particularly gratifying, considering it happened nearly a year to the day after a total shoulder replacement surgery.

“I’ve been a golfer for 35 years and have played more than 2,000 rounds of golf and never came close to a hole-in-one,” said Dean, a longtime Greenwich resident. “If you had seen me before my surgery, you wouldn’t believe it would be possible.”

For more than 10 years, Dean suffered from shoulder pain which steadily restricted his range of motion and affected his golf swing. On the recommendation of a friend, he consulted with shoulder specialist Dr. Seth Miller. When conservative measures failed to provide Dean with any relief, Miller recommended total shoulder replacement.

According to Miller, Dean was a perfect candidate for shoulder replacement because severe arthritis. It had worn away part of his shoulder socket. He had developed an advanced condition that affects less than 5 percent of people receiving shoulder replacement surgery, and required a specialized prosthetic called an augmented glenoid.

“Dr. Miller assured me that a shoulder replacement would improve my quality of life,” said Dean. “I had the surgery in September, 2016 when the golf season came to a close because I wanted to be able to play the following February in Jamaica.”

The procedure went according to plan. Following a physical therapy program, Dean was lightly swinging a club by December and achieved his goal by playing ten rounds of golf two months later in Jamaica.

“I recommend this surgery to guys like me who think they can deal with the pain,” he said. “I wish I had done it six or seven years ago.” Since the surgery, Dean has seen his handicap has improved by 4 points to an enviable 15. “The whole experience has been terrific,” he said.

This story originally appeared in the Daily Voice.
Photograph by Jeffery A. Blutstein