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Shoulder & elbow surgery

Expert care for shoulder and elbow problems

Your shoulder and elbows provide an incredible amount of function and movement in the arm. From getting dressed to washing the dishes or driving your car, you rely on our shoulders and elbows countless times as you go about your normal everyday routines.

Given the involvement of the shoulder and elbow in so many common movements, a problem with them can have a significant impact on life. Shoulder or elbow pain, stiffness and weakness are all common complaints.

If you have any type of problem in your elbow or shoulder, it can be sensible to get help and advice from an expert. The Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons at The Harbour Hospital treat a range of shoulder and elbow concerns, helping to get people out of pain and stiffness and back to better movement and function in the arm once again. They would be delighted to help you too.

Most shoulder and elbow problems fit into one of four categories:

  • Acute trauma – for example, a sports injury or road traffic accident
  • Chronic trauma – damage caused by overuse or a repetitive movement
  • Inflammation
  • ‘Wear and tear’ degeneration of the joint

People visit the Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons at The Harbour for a number of reasons, including:

  • Pain and/or inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Instability or frequent dislocations
  • Pain at the end of the collarbone (clavicle)
  • Popping, clicking or grating noises when the shoulder is moved

Degenerative problems like arthritis in the shoulder and elbow become more common as we age, but younger patients can be affected by them too.

The upper limb, from the very top of the shoulder right down to the fingertips, is an incredibly complex structure. Bones, nerves, ligaments, muscles and other structures all work together to provide function and movement. Given this complexity, it’s not surprising that shoulder and elbow problems are quite common.

Some of the common shoulder and elbow conditions seen by the Shoulder and Elbow Consultant at The Harbour are:

  • Osteoarthritis – a degenerative condition that causes pain and stiffness in the joint. In its more advanced stages, surgery may be required
  • Frozen shoulder – a very common condition, causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder and most frequently occurs in patients aged 30-50
  • Rotator cuff injury/tendon tear – the rotator cuff is a collection of muscles and tendons around the shoulder joint. Any type of damage to the rotator cuff can cause pain and weakness in the shoulder
  • Tennis Elbow – caused by overuse of the muscles involved in twisting motions
  • Golfer’s Elbow – caused by overusing the muscles involved in gripping movement
  • Shoulder dislocation – Frequent dislocations may require surgery to stabilise the joint
  • Bursitis - inflammation of a fluid-filled sac (bursa) in your elbow or shoulder
  • Bicep tendon rupture – usually results from trauma, causes sharp pain at the shoulder or elbow
  • Sports injuries – these can range from mild sprains to more severe damage. Acute trauma will usually be treated by the NHS in A&E.

Whatever problem you’re experiencing in your shoulder or elbow, our experienced Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons can help you.

When you first meet with your Consultant, they will discuss your symptoms with you. They will want to know:

  • What symptoms you have
  • When you first noticed these symptoms
  • What your job is
  • Whether your symptoms are triggered or aggravated by any particular movements
  • If you’ve recently had an injury, such as a car accident or heavy tackle in rugby
  • Whether you’ve had any treatment already, such as pain relief medication or physiotherapy

They will take a clinical history and examine the affected area.

Depending on your specific symptoms and the physical examination, you may be referred for further investigations. This will normally be an X-ray of the shoulder or elbow, which can help to show obvious abnormalities in the bony structures. For soft tissue damage, such as bursitis or a rotator cuff tear, an Ultrasound or MRI scan will normally be preferred, and these will be arranged for you at the earliest opportunity.

Once any test results are back, your Consultant will be able to plan the best treatment for you. They will discuss suitable treatment options with you and talk through any questions or concerns you may have.

Many shoulder and elbow problems can be successfully treated and managed without the need for any type of surgery. Non-surgical treatments may include:

  • Physiotherapy and exercise programmes
  • Pain relief medication (analgesia)
  • Steroid Injections

If these non-surgical treatments aren’t able to relieve your symptoms, surgery may be needed.

A frozen shoulder will resolve naturally over time (although this can be many months). Some people will have more significant pain or stiffness that doesn’t respond to the standard treatments of physiotherapy or steroid injection. For these situations, a keyhole surgical release may be considered to relive symptoms and restore movement and function to the shoulder again.

Rotator cuff tears will often need keyhole surgery to repair, and this is usually done as a day case procedure.

Osteoarthritis in the shoulder can cause real pain and stiffness. When it is more advanced and causing near immobility in the shoulder, Shoulder replacement surgery can be helpful. The worn, damaged joint is replaced with a new artificial shoulder joint (prosthesis). There are different ways this surgery can be done, and your Consultant will explain the best option for you.

Whatever treatment you require, whether surgical or non-surgical, it will always be tailored to your specific needs. If you do need surgery, your Consultant will explain how it will be done, the benefits you should realistically expect to see from it and any potential risks or complications you need to be aware of before making a decision about whether to have the surgery or not.

If you have any questions or concerns at any time, they will always be very happy to talk these through with you to put your mind at ease.

Some people are referred to us by their GP, physiotherapist or private medical insurance provider. Others are recommended to visit us by a family member or friend who has previously been helped by us.

Many of our patients are from Poole and the surrounding areas, although people also travel from further afield, from places like Hampshire, to benefit from the expertise of our Shoulder and Elbow Consultants.

We treat people with private medical insurance and those who choose to self-pay.

When you choose The Harbour Hospital for your shoulder or elbow treatment, you will benefit from:

  • Access to an expert, FAST – the Shoulder and Elbow Consultants at The Harbour are highly experienced and cover the full range of shoulder and elbow problems. With quicker access to a shoulder and elbow specialist, you’ll be back on the road to recovery sooner.
  • Convenient appointments – with appointments available throughout the week, you will be able to book a time that’s convenient for you. Bookings can be made online or by telephone for your convenience.
  • A multidisciplinary team – your Shoulder and Elbow Consultant is assisted by a multidisciplinary team including radiologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nurses. With rapid access to experienced experts in other fields when required, you will be supported at every stage of your treatment and recovery.
  • Recommended by patients– In an independent survey, an incredible 98.6% of people we treated said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to their friends and family.

For expert treatment for your shoulder or elbow problem, book your appointment online today.

Specialists offering Shoulder & elbow surgery

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Mr Robert Moverley

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MPharm MBChB MSc(Eng) FRCS(2017)

The Harbour Hospital

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Mr Graeme Nicholas Fernandez

Consultant Orthopaedic & Trauma Surgeon


The Harbour Hospital 1 more The Winterbourne Hospital

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Mr Matthew Barrett

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBCh, MRCS, FRCS (Tr & Orth)

The Winterbourne Hospital 1 more The Harbour Hospital

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Professor Robert Middleton

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

The Harbour Hospital

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Mr David O'Connor

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MB, Bch, FRCS, FRCS (Trauma and Orthopaedics)

The Harbour Hospital

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Mr Jeremy James Southgate

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon


The Harbour Hospital

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