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DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I have severe arthritis in my shoulder. I recently found out my rotator cuff is also torn. I can’t lift my arm much anymore without a lot of pain. My doctor recommends reverse shoulder arthroplasty. What does this surgery involve? How successful is it for someone in my situation? ANSWER: Reverse shoulder arthroplasty is surgery used to replace a damaged shoulder joint. The procedure differs from standard shoulder replacement surgery because it switches the shoulder’s normal ball-and-socket structure around to allow for more stability in the joint after surgery. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty is particularly useful for people like you who have a damaged rotator cuff along with shoulder arthritis. In such cases, this surgery often can effectively reduce pain and increase shoulder mobility.
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I recently was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in one breast. I’m planning to have a mastectomy and breast reconstruction. What are the chances I’ll get cancer in my other breast? I’m trying to decide if I should go ahead with a double mastectomy now. I don’t really want to, but I don’t want to go through this whole process twice, either. ANSWER: In general, for someone in your situation the risk of developing a new cancer in the other breast is typically quite low. Removing the normal breast is not required as part of the treatment for your breast cancer. The decision to have a mastectomy on the cancer side and also remove a breast that does not have cancer (the other side) is a very personal one. There are valid reasons some women choose to pursue this surgery. But it will have a long-term effect on your body, so you need to be comfortable with the decision you make.
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: A week ago I woke up with some swelling inside my mouth near my jaw. It went away after an hour or so, but happened again two nights later. Could this be a blocked salivary gland? If so, what is the treatment for it? ANSWER: It is possible that a blocked salivary gland could be causing your symptoms. But another disorder might be the source of the problem, too. Treatment for your condition will need to be based on the underlying cause. Make an appointment to see a doctor for an evaluation. Once the root cause is identified, your doctor can make a treatment plan that fits your situation. Your salivary glands make saliva. Saliva aids in digestion and keeps your mouth moist. You have three pairs of major salivary glands under and behind your jaw — parotid, sublingual and submandibular. You also have many other tiny salivary glands in your lips, inside your cheeks, and throughout your mouth and throat. Ducts connect to your salivary glands and drain saliva from them into your mouth and throat.
DEAR MAYO CLINIC: My son, 9, liked reading when he was younger. But over the last year, he’s started to struggle with it, and he was recently diagnosed with convergence insufficiency. What is the best treatment for this? Are there some cases that are not treatable? I am concerned that we did not catch it soon enough. ANSWER: Your son’s situation is common. Convergence insufficiency often is not identified until around the age of 8 or 9 when children begin to read more. A number of treatments are available and, in most cases, they are effective in relieving the problem. In rare cases when other therapies have not worked, surgery may be needed to correct convergence insufficiency. Convergence insufficiency is an eye disorder that affects vision when focusing on something nearby. To focus when you read or look at an object up close, your eyes need to turn inward together. This is called convergence. It allows you to clearly see the object you are looking at as a single image.