It’s important to know that you won’t always need surgery to treat a shoulder or elbow problem. Non-surgical treatments can be very helpful for a number of common shoulder and elbow problems. These may include a course of physiotherapy, pain relief medication or injection of a corticosteroid into the joint.
If non-surgical treatments don’t give you the relief you need, then you may need surgery.
There are a number of ways surgery can be carried out on the shoulder and elbow, from a type of keyhole surgery known as arthroscopy through to more invasive “open” surgery. The majority of surgical treatments can be performed through keyhole techniques which results in less scarring and a faster recovery.
Tears in the rotator cuff tendon around the ball and socket joint of your shoulder are likely to need surgical repair. This is usually done by keyhole surgery as a day case procedure.
More advanced arthritis in the shoulder may require a shoulder replacement. This is a larger operation, performed as open surgery, where the damaged joint is removed and replaced by an artificial joint. There are a few different ways this can be done, and your Consultant will discuss these with you in advance.
If you do need surgery, your Consultant will explain it to you clearly so that you know how it will be done, what to expect with your recovery and what benefits you should realistically expect to see following the surgery.