Retired Police Officer Finds Relief with Shoulder Replacement   

Retired Police Officer Finds Relief with Shoulder Replacement

Leonard DiMatteo standing, smiling with his arms crossed, in front of a body of water.

Shoulder pain was a normal part of everyday life for Leonard DiMatteo, retired police officer and security guard from Southern Ocean Medical Center. Leonard loves to stay in good shape in retirement, so heavy weight-lifting became a routine activity for him, even after two prior shoulder procedures. He was determined to be successful with his new part-time job at a shipping company, where he would be lifting and transporting several heavy boxes per day.

The beginning of Leonard’s time at his new job was great, even though his shoulder pain had always seemed to linger. Fast forward a few years, and he noticed the pain was only escalating - especially during overnight hours. He initially received several cortisone injections to mask the pain, but after about four injections over a few years and continual anti-inflammatory medications, they were no longer effective.

Leonard took a vacation one week with his family in sunny Aruba. Unfortunately, as his family was enjoying swimming in the ocean, he stood watching from the pool area. He had the realization he could no longer perform basic functions, such as swimming, throwing a football with his nephews, and even everyday driving. His quality of life was suffering.

“I don’t know how much longer I can do this”, Leonard thought to himself.

Search for a Trustworthy Orthopedic Expert

Leonard’s prior surgeon had moved to Florida, so he had to search for a trustworthy orthopedic expert in the south New Jersey area. His previous doctor recommended Jason Wong, D.O., an orthopedic surgeon at Southern Ocean Medical Center. When Leonard saw Dr. Wong for his first appointment, he suggested either a replacement or a reverse replacement based on Leonard’s symptoms and history of procedures. Dr. Wong recommended his colleague Roman Ashmyan, D.O., who specializes in shoulder surgery, as the expert to analyze the situation.

Leonard felt so comfortable with Dr. Ashmyan as his new surgeon. “From the first time I met him, he came across as professional, pleasant, informative, and takes his time with patients. He even said a prayer with my wife and I before my procedure,” recalls Leonard. 

After reviewing Leonard’s shoulder imaging, Dr. Ashmyan knew right away that the answer was a shoulder replacement. All of the previous cortisone shots and anti-inflammatories were not going to get him through this pain any longer. 

Leonard underwent shoulder replacement surgery and returned home the same day to recover. “Every Hackensack Meridian Health team member, from the nurses to anesthesiologist to Dr. Ashmyan, that helped during the day of my procedure, was wonderful,” said Leonard.

Road to Recovery

After his shoulder replacement procedure, Leonard spent six months in physical therapy. Physical therapy helped him gain strength and mobility in his shoulder so he can go back to performing routine, everyday activities. He is now driving, swimming, doing yard work, and playing with his nephews with no pain. 

Leonard was so relieved to have found Dr. Wong and Dr. Ashmyan through his prior surgeon. Leonard would recommend Dr. Ashmyan to anyone needing a shoulder surgeon - “he is very professional and enthusiastic to help people feel like themselves again”. 

Next Steps & Resources

The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.


Subscribe to get the latest health tips from our expert clinicians delivered weekly to your inbox.

We use cookies to improve your experience. Please read our Privacy Policy or click Accept.