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Shoulder & elbow surgery

Expert care for shoulder and elbow problems

Pain, stiffness, weakness or numbness in a shoulder or elbow can make many aspects of life more challenging. Even seemingly simple tasks like brushing teeth, making a hot drink or driving a car can all become much more difficult, if not impossible, to do.

Fortunately, good treatments are available for a wide range of shoulder and elbow conditions. The experienced Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons at BMI The Chaucer Hospital in Canterbury, Kent would be delighted to help get you out of pain and back to better mobility and function once again.

Both the shoulder and elbow provide a great deal of movement and function to the upper limb. Given their range of motion, the complexity of the joints and how often they’re used, it’s no surprise that they are often quite susceptible to problems.

Shoulder or elbow problems are often caused by:

  • Trauma – for example, a sports injury like a heavy rugby tackle
  • Inflammation
  • Wear and tear

The Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons at The Chaucer diagnose and treat a range of conditions, including:

  • Pain, stiffness or inflammation in the shoulder or elbow
  • Pain at either end of the collarbone (clavicle)
  • Pain or weakness when the arm is lifted above the head
  • A ‘clicking’ sensation in the shoulder when it moves
  • Difficulty sleeping due to shoulder pain
  • Instability in the shoulder
  • ‘Wobbly’ shoulder
  • Nerve entrapment around the elbow and shoulder

Shoulder and elbow pain can affect all ages. As we get older, degenerative conditions like arthritis become more common, although younger patients can also be affected by these.

If your symptoms are reasonably mild, you may be able to ignore them. When they affect your daily life, stopping you from doing certain things, it can be sensible to see a doctor for assessment and advice. If you’d appreciate help for a shoulder or elbow condition, why not book an appointment at The Chaucer? Your Consultant will investigate the cause(s) of your symptoms, make a diagnosis and arrange suitable treatment for you as soon as possible.

Some of the common shoulder and elbow problems seen by the Consultants at The Chaucer are:

  • Osteoarthritis – the most common type of arthritis in the UK. While there is currently no cure, there are treatments that can help to manage symptoms in the earlier stages. In its more advanced form, shoulder replacement surgery may be needed.  
  • Frozen shoulder – pain and increasing stiffness in the shoulder. Tends to progress through three distinct phases known as freezing, frozen, thawing. More common in people with diabetes
  • Rotator cuff injury/tendon tear
  • A ‘wobbly’ or unstable shoulder
  • Tennis Elbow - caused by repetitive twisting motions
  • Golfer’s Elbow - caused by repetitive gripping motions
  • Recurrent shoulder dislocation – if a shoulder dislocates one, it is highly likely to dislocate again in the future. Frequent dislocations may require surgery to stabilise the shoulder
  • Tendonitis - inflammation of a tendon
  • Bursitis - inflammation of a fluid-filled sac (bursa) in the elbow or shoulder
  • Bicep tendon rupture – can cause sharp pain at the elbow or shoulder
  • Nerve injuries/entrapments around the elbow or shoulder
Whatever the problem is with your shoulder or elbow, our experienced Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons will help get you out of pain and back to better strength, mobility and function once again. 

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

  • What symptoms you have
  • How long you’ve had these symptoms
  • What job you do
  • Whether your symptoms have been getting worse over time
  • If anything causes your symptoms to flare up
  • Whether you have any numbness in your hand or wrist
  • If there was an obvious cause for your symptoms, such as an injury to your shoulder
  • Whether you’ve had any type of treatment already, such as prescription medication or physiotherapy.

They will take a clinical history and carry out a physical examination of your upper limb.

Depending on your clinic history, symptoms and the physical examination, you may be referred for further investigations to help with diagnosis. Often, an X-ray can help demonstrate any obvious abnormalities in the joint. If a tendon tear or soft tissue injury is suspected, an MRI or ultrasound scan may be carried out. Our on-site diagnostics capabilities include X-ray MRI, CT and Ultrasound, so they can be easily arranged for you when required.

Once any results are back, your Consultant will discuss them with you and explain any treatment options to you.

Non-surgical treatments are often used first to help manage symptoms. These may include:

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

Rotator cuff tears will often need keyhole surgery to repair.

Frozen shoulder can be treated with manipulation under anaesthetic (MUA).

Where osteoarthritis in the shoulder is causing severe pain and stiffness, shoulder replacement surgery may be required. There are different ways of doing this, but in essence the damaged joint is replaced with an artificial one (known as a prosthesis).

If surgery of any kind is needed, your Consultant will explain how it will be done, the benefits you should expect to see from it and any potential risks or complications you need to be aware of.

Some people are referred to us by their GP, physiotherapist, sports physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor. Many are referred to us by family or friends who have been treated by us previously. Others choose to self-refer in order to get help sooner.

Many of our patients are from Canterbury and the surrounding areas, but others travel from other areas of Kent like Maidstone and Margate, and even further afield, to visit with us.

We treat patients with private medical insurance and those who choose one of our fixed-price self-pay options. When you choose BMI The Chaucer Hospital for your shoulder and elbow treatment, you will benefit from:

  • Rapid access to an expert – When you’re struggling with any kind of shoulder or elbow problem, you’ll want to get it treated as soon as possible. We can quickly book you an appointment with an experienced Consultant Shoulder and Elbow Surgeon, so that you can get help sooner.
  • Convenient appointments – Our Consultants offer appointments throughout the week, so it’s easy to arrange a time that’s convenient for you. While most consultations are carried out in person at The Chaucer, we can provide remote consultations by telephone or video call if required (and where clinically appropriate).
  • Care from an experienced team – Your Consultant is helped in their work by a multidisciplinary team, including radiologists and physiotherapists. With the support of this wider team, you will always receive the best treatment for your specific condition.
  • Patient Satisfaction – In an independent survey, 98% of people we treated said they were likely or highly likely to recommend us to their friends and family. We continue to focus on delivering the highest level of care and support to everybody who chooses us for their treatment.

If you’d appreciate help for any shoulder or elbow problem, it’s very easy to book an appointment online or by telephone. Your Consultant will thoroughly investigate the cause of your symptoms, diagnose the problem and arrange suitable treatment for you as soon as possible.

Specialists offering Shoulder & elbow surgery

Mr Jai Relwani

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

FRCS (Trauma & Orth), FRCS, MS (Orth), DNB (Orth)

BMI The Chaucer Hospital

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Mr Sathya Murthy

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

FRCSOrth MCh Orth(Liverpool) FRCSEd DOrth MBBS

BMI The Chaucer Hospital

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