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Shoulder & elbow surgery

Expert care for shoulder and elbow problems

We rely on our shoulders and elbows countless times each day as we go about our normal tasks and activities. From brushing our teeth to putting our shoes and socks on, washing up or driving our car, the shoulders and elbows play a very active role in making these things possible.

Any kind of problem in an elbow or shoulder can quickly limit our ability to do many of these everyday activities. Common complaints include pain, stiffness or weakness.

If you’re struggling with shoulder or elbow pain, you will want to be seen and treated as soon as possible. The Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons at The Winterbourne Hospital treat a wide range of shoulder and elbow conditions, helping people to get out of pain and stiffness and back to better movement and function once again. Would you like them to help you?

Most shoulder pain and elbow problems are caused by one of four things:

  • Acute trauma – for example, a sports injury or fall onto the arm
  • Chronic trauma - damage to the joint caused by overuse or a repetitive movement
  • Inflammation
  • ‘Wear and tear’ degeneration of the joint

Some of the common reasons people visit a Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon at The Winterbourne include:

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

Sudden and severe injuries (known as acute trauma) such as a bone fracture or shoulder dislocation will often require emergency treatment via A&E. However, many injuries can lead to ongoing pain, weakness or instability in the shoulder and elbow.

Degenerative problems in the shoulder and elbow become more common as we age, but younger patients can be affected by these as well.

If your symptoms are severe, interfering with your daily life or have lasted more than a few weeks, it can be sensible to get expert assessment and advice. At The Winterbourne, your Consultant will help you start any treatment required as quickly as possible.

The upper limb, from the top of the shoulder down to the fingertips, is an incredibly complex structure. Shoulder and elbow problems are common and can have a significant effect on how you can use your arm.

Some of the common reasons people visit a Shoulder and Elbow Consultant at The Winterbourne Hospital include:

  • Osteoarthritis – causes pain and stiffness in the joint. In its more advanced stages, surgery may be required
  • Frozen shoulder – a common condition that causes pain and stiffness in the shoulder
  • Rotator cuff injury/tendon tear – the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that help keep the shoulder in position. Any type of damage to the rotator cuff can cause pain in the shoulder
  • Tennis elbow – usually results from overuse of the muscles involved in twisting motions
  • Golfer's elbow – caused by overusing the muscles involved in gripping movement
  • Shoulder dislocation – statistically, a shoulder that has dislocated once is far more likely to dislocate again in the future. Frequent dislocations may require surgery
  • Bursitis - inflammation of a fluid-filled sac (bursa) in your elbow or shoulder
  • Bicep tendon rupture – causes sharp pain at the shoulder or elbow
  • Sports injuries – can range in severity from mild sprains to more extensive damage. Acute trauma is usually 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 ask you about your symptoms. They will want to know:

  • The symptoms you have
  • How long you’ve had your symptoms
  • What your job is
  • Whether your symptoms have been getting worse over time
  • If any particular movements or actions aggravate your symptoms
  • Whether you’ve recently had an injury, such as a fall onto your arm or a car accident
  • If you’ve received treatment already, such as pain relief medication or physiotherapy

They will take a medical history and carry out a clinical examination of the affected area to assess the mobility, strength and function you have in your arm and/or shoulder.

Depending on your symptoms and physical examination, further investigations may be required. Often this will be an X-ray of the shoulder or elbow, which can show obvious abnormalities in the bony structures. For soft tissue concerns, such as bursitis or a rotator cuff tear, an Ultrasound or MRI scan may be preferred, and these will be arranged for you as soon as possible.

On-site diagnostic capabilities include X-ray, Ultrasound and a state-of-the-art MRI scanner.

Your Consultant will use the results of any tests, your symptoms and their clinical examination to make a diagnosis and plan the best treatment for you. They will explain treatment options to you so that you can make an informed decision about treatment.

Many shoulder and elbow problems can be treated without surgery. Non-surgical treatments can include:

If non-surgical treatments don’t relieve your symptoms, or become less effective over time, surgery may be needed.

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

A frozen shoulder will resolve naturally over time. However, some people may have more significant pain or stiffness that doesn’t respond to physiotherapy or steroid injection. In these cases, a keyhole surgical release may be considered.

Osteoarthritis in the shoulder can cause horrible pain and stiffness. Shoulder replacement surgery can be helpful. There are different ways this can be done, and your Consultant will explain the best option for your particular shoulder. Whichever method is used, the worn, damaged joint is replaced with a new artificial shoulder joint (prosthesis).

If you do need any type of surgery, your Consultant will explain how the operation 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. If you have any questions or concerns, they will be very happy to talk these through with you.

Some people are referred to us by their GP or physiotherapist. Others come to us because a friend or family member has recommended us to them.

Many of our patients are from Dorchester and other parts of Dorset, including Bournemouth and Poole.

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

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

  • Access to an expert, FAST – the Shoulder and Elbow Consultants at The Winterbourne are highly experienced. They cover the spectrum of shoulder and elbow complaints. With faster access to a shoulder and elbow specialist, you’ll be treated and 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. For your convenience, bookings can be made online or by telephone.
  • A multidisciplinary team – your Consultant is helped in their work by a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, including radiologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and nurses. With input from experienced experts in their field, you will be well looked after at every stage of your treatment and recovery.
  • Recommended by patients– In an independent survey, an incredible 98.4% of people we treated said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to their friends and family.

For peace of mind and expert care for your shoulder or elbow problem, why not contact us today to book your appointment? We really look forward to helping you.

Specialists offering Shoulder & elbow surgery

Mr Matthew Barrett

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBCh, MRCS, FRCS (Tr & Orth)

The Winterbourne Hospital 1 more 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 Colin Senior

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

BMBS, BMedSci, MRCS, FRCS(Trauma & Orthopaedics)

The Winterbourne Hospital

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