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Shoulder surgery

Fast, effective treatment for injuries and conditions of the shoulder

Your shoulder joint is formed of a ball at the top of your humerus (upper arm bone) and a socket in your scapula (shoulder blade). There are several structures that support this joint, such as your labrum (a ring of cartilage around your socket), your ligaments (tissues that connect one bone to another), and also your rotator cuff, which allows you to raise and rotate your arm.

We use our shoulder constantly, more than we even realise, and so any pain or loss of movement in the joint can have a huge impact on daily life.

If you’re suffering from the effects of an old shoulder injury or are experiencing new and chronic pain, it’s essential to get your shoulder problem diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible. Not only does pain and stiffness limit what you can do physically, but without specialist intervention problems can escalate and quickly undermine your quality of life and general well-being. As you may well be aware, however, the usual route to treatment can be extremely lengthy.

At BMI The Priory Hospital we can offer you rapid access to expert shoulder advice. We’re home to some of the UK’s leading specialists in upper limb conditions and you can normally see a shoulder consultant within days rather than weeks or months. This means you can be assessed and put on the right path to recovery, and to a life free from pain, in a fraction of the time.

Our Orthopaedic Consultants will only consider surgery after non-invasive treatments such as physiotherapy, pain relief medication and steroid injection therapy have all been exhausted.

Common shoulder conditions

At BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, Shoulder surgery is performed to treat many different problems, including:

  • Osteoarthritis: This is the most prevalent form of arthritis in the UK, affecting almost nine million people. It occurs when the protective cartilage that covers the ends of your bones breaks down, causing pain, stiffness, and limited movement in your shoulder.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: This form of arthritis causes your immune system to mistakenly attack a layer of cells that line your joint, also known as your synovium. As a result, your synovium can become inflamed, giving off chemicals that damage your nearby cartilage, tendons and bones.
  • Rotator cuff tear: You could develop a tear in your rotator cuff due to an injury or due to overuse of your shoulder from repetitive movements.
  • An impingement: When you lift your arm, your rotator cuff tendon passes through a space underneath your acromion (the outer part of your shoulder blade). However, an impingement can cause your rotator cuff to rub against your acromion creating pain and weakness in your shoulder.
  • A dislocation: A shoulder dislocation is when the top of your humerus (upper arm bone) is either partially or completely removed from its socket in your scapula (shoulder blade).
  • Frozen shoulder: This refers to a stiffening of the capsule (lining) that surrounds your joint.

Symptoms that might lead to shoulder surgery

Your Orthopaedic Surgeon at BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham will also consider surgery if you have the following symptoms:

  • Severe pain: If you have severe pain in your shoulder or arm, from arthritis or any other condition, shoulder replacement surgery can help relieve your pain. Similarly, a shoulder arthroscopy (a type of keyhole shoulder surgery) can be performed to treat pain from an impingement or rotator cuff tear.
  • Chronic stiffness: Unfortunately, persistent stiffness can impact your mobility. If you are finding it difficult to perform your everyday activities, surgery can help you regain your independence by restoring movement to your shoulder and arm. Frozen shoulder surgery uses an arthroscopy to release your tightened joint capsule (lining) from a frozen shoulder, allowing you to freely move your shoulder. Likewise, shoulder impingement surgery uses an arthroscopic procedure known as subacromial decompression surgery to alleviate stiffness from an impingement.
  • Shoulder weakness: An injury such as dislocation or fracture (broken bone) can trigger pain and weakness in your shoulder. However, Latarjet shoulder stabilisation surgery can improve stability in your shoulder.
  • Poor sleep: Pain can impact your quality of sleep by causing you to wake up from your sleep or making it hard to find a comfortable sleeping position. If your sleep is repeatedly disturbed, this can interfere with your pain pathways and lead to an increased sensitivity to pain which, in turn, can make your pain feel worse over time. Your Orthopaedic Consultant at BMI The Priory Hospital can treat your pain and help you sleep better.

As the largest private hospital in Birmingham, our team of specialists offer expert and compassionate care to patients from Edgbaston, the West Midlands and further afield. Book your consultation with an Orthopaedic Specialist today by phoning our team on 0121 4402323.

During your first appointment at the BMI The Priory Hospital, your consultant will ask you questions about your medical history and carry out a thorough physical examination. You will then usually need some form diagnostic tests, either an X-ray, an MRI, or an ultrasound scan. In some cases your doctor may arrange for you to have an electromyography (EMG) nerve conduction test– or a combination of these.

You can have all these tests carried out at the BMI The Priory Hospital in our state-of-the-art imaging centre. Your consultant will explain what will happen during the tests and whether there’s anything you need to do to prepare for them. Once your tests are completed you’ll be booked in to see your consultant at their next available clinic.

At this appointment your specialist will usually recommend non-surgical treatment e.g. injections or physiotherapy as the best way to deal with your condition. Physiotherapy is often offered as a first course of treatment – then, if no significant improvement is seen, surgery may become an option.

Our highly qualified BMI The Priory physiotherapists work closely with our consultants so that patients receive an optimum, tailored, rehabilitation plan. The new physiotherapy unit is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for the exclusive use of our patients so you will experience the highest quality of treatment - whether that’s to improve a condition or for post-operative rejuvenation.

If your condition is acute you will be booked in for surgery right away and you’ll receive full information about the risks of any procedures, as well as whether you’ll require any hospital stay.  

Your consultant is well aware you’ll be keen to get back to work or return to the sporting activities you enjoy, so your recuperation period will also be discussed. Depending on the complexity of your surgery this could range from a few weeks to a few months. 

Prior to your shoulder operation, you will need to attend a preoperative assessment, which may happen over the phone or you may be asked to come into our hospital. This is a general health screening where a Nurse will measure your pulse, blood pressure, weight and height to assess whether you are fit to have surgery.

As well as attending a preoperative assessment, you will be asked to make a few lifestyle changes to your routine, depending on your health. If your body mass index (BMI) exceeds the normal range, your Orthopaedic Consultant will encourage you to lose ahead of your operation. Likewise, if you smoke, you will be guided to relevant support services to help you quit smoking. By making these lifestyle changes, you can minimise your risk of post-surgery complications. 

At BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, your shoulder surgery can be performed through an arthroscopy (an operation that uses a few small incisions), or an open procedure (which uses a single, larger incision).

The method that is used to perform your surgery will depend on the type of operation that you are advised to have. The most common shoulder operations we perform are: 

Shoulder replacement surgery

If you are advised to have a shoulder replacement, this can be performed through open surgery. There are three main types of replacement operations that are offered at BMI The Priory Hospital:

During partial shoulder replacement surgery, only the ball of your shoulder joint (the top of your humerus or upper arm bone) is removed and replaced with an artificial component.

But in a total shoulder replacement operation, both the ball and socket of your joint are removed and replaced with artificial components. Alternatively, reverse shoulder replacement surgery ‘reverses’ the position of your ball and socket by replacing the top of your humerus that forms the ball of your shoulder joint with a plastic socket and the socket in your scapula (shoulder blade) with a metal ball.

Shoulder arthroscopy

A shoulder arthroscopy is a keyhole operation that uses a few small incisions to pass an arthroscope (a thin tube containing a camera) into your shoulder. This allows your Orthopaedic Consultant to further investigate and, in some cases, treat your symptoms.

There are many procedures that can be performed during an arthroscopy, including shoulder decompression surgery, where the surface underneath your acromion in shaved to provide your rotator cuff tendon with more space to move or capsular release surgery, which is when the tightened lining of your joint is released to allow you to freely move your arm. An arthroscopy can also be used to repair a rotator cuff tear. This will involve reattaching the torn part of your rotor cuff tendon to top of your humerus (arm bone). 

After your shoulder operation, your incisions will be closed with stitches that will either dissolve with time or need to be removed at your follow-up appointment. A dressing will be placed over your stitches and your arm will be placed into a sling to protect your operated area. You will then be taken to a recovery ward where a Nurse will offer you refreshments and medication to lessen any post-operative pain.

During your recovery at our hospital, a Physiotherapist will guide you through a series of exercises to help you move your shoulder. This could include elbow extension (straightening) exercises or shoulder rotations. Your Physiotherapist will also show how to put your sling on and take it off when showering, getting dressed and doing your exercises. The length of time that you will need to wear this sling will depend on your operation and your Orthopaedic Surgeon or Physiotherapist will inform you when you can stop wearing your sling.

If you have had an arthroscopy, you will be able to go home the same day or the following day. But if you have had a replacement operation, you will usually be discharged from our hospital in Birmingham after about one to two days.

Recovery from shoulder surgery: what to expect

After you have been discharged from our hospital, you will need to continue doing your recommended physiotherapy exercises throughout your recovery.

If your job is mostly sedentary (sitting down), you should be able to work after around six weeks. But if your profession involves heavy lifting or overhead movements, your return to work after shoulder surgery will take longer. This will vary depending on the operation that you have had.

Regardless of the surgery that you have had, you should only drive when your arm is no longer in a sling and you have complete control over your vehicle. It will usually take about six to eight weeks before you can drive again.

At six to eight weeks after your shoulder surgery, you can swim gentle modified strokes. But you will be advised to avoid freestyle swimming for at least 12 weeks (about 3 months). Your Consultant will discuss when you can return to other sports such as tennis, golf, or badminton at your follow-up appointment.

As with any operation, there are potential risks associated with shoulder surgery, including:

  • Deep vein thrombosis: This is a blood clot in the deep vein of your leg. You will be provided with medication, compression stockings and exercises to minimise your risk of developing blood clots
  • Bruising: It is normal to have some bruising around the site of your operation and this should resolve with time
  • An infection: If you develop an infection, your Consultant can treat this through antibiotics or further surgery
  • A loosening or dislocation of your prosthesis: If the artificial components of your replacement become loose or dislocated, your Consultant will perform a revision operation to replace your prosthesis
  • Scarring: You will have some scars where your incisions were made. But these should become less noticeable with time

The cost of your shoulder surgery at BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham will vary depending on your required operation. If you require a shoulder replacement, this can cost around £10,836. Alternatively, an arthroscopic shoulder procedure can cost between £4,529 to £6,735.

It is important to note that these prices are a guide price for patients that are paying for their treatment themselves. These prices do not include the cost of your initial consultation or aftercare. At BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham, the final cost of your treatment will be confirmed in writing by your Consultant.

The cost of your treatment at BMI The Priory Hospital in Birmingham can be paid using your private medical insurance or our payment plans, which allow you to pay for your treatment in monthly installments spread across up to five years. For more information, please visit our payment options page.

At the Priory BMI The Priory Birmingham we are extremely proud of our standards of patient care. Every year we successfully treat a wide variety of shoulder problems, providing individualised care that’s designed to solve your shoulder problem effectively and rapidly.

  • BMI The Priory Hospital is home to a team of world-class consultant orthopaedic surgeons, sports and medicine specialists, and physiotherapists. You will only ever be seen by the same senior consultant throughout the course of your treatment.
  • Communication, teamwork, and shared expertise are at the forefront of all we do. Our shoulder consultants work within multidisciplinary teams of physiotherapists, nurses, and healthcare professionals. This multi-tiered approach is designed to secure the best quality outcomes for patients.
  • Unlike at the majority of private hospitals BMI The Priory Birmingham has its own intensive care unit (ITU) which enables us to carry out complex surgical procedures onsite.
  • Our state-of-the-art medical theatres use laminar flow systems designed specifically to accommodate orthopaedic procedures.
  • We offer market-leading diagnostic technology in our in-house imaging centres, including best-in-class MRI and CT scanners.
  • BMI The Priory is based conveniently in the heart of Birmingham and all our clinics are in-house, as are all orthopaedic consultations, diagnostic testing, treatment, and rehabilitation.
  • Your care package is built around your unique needs. We will work with you to create a treatment plan that’s tailored to you.
  • We offer the option to pay-as-you-go. You don’t need private medical insurance to receive treatment for your shoulder condition.

At BMI The Priory our aim is to help you feel well, stay active and enjoy a greatly enhanced quality of life.

From shoulder diagnostics to non-interventional and surgical treatment right the way through to rehabilitation patients all our patients receive considered attention at every stage of their care. So whether you’re an athlete striving to return to your sport or suffering from debilitating life-limiting shoulder pain our expert team will take care of you – so that you’re living pain-free life as soon as possible.

Get in touch with BMI The Priory Hospital and kickstart your path to recovery today. 

Specialists offering Shoulder surgery

Professor Martyn Snow

Consultant Knee and Shoulder Surgeon

MBchB, MSc (Orth Eng), MRCS, FRCS (Trauma&Orth)

The Droitwich Spa Hospital 1 more The Priory Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Socrates Kalogrianitis

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBChB, FRCS

The Edgbaston Hospital 1 more The Priory Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Marcus Adrian Green

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

Bsc (1) hons, Mb ChB, FRCS, FRCS Tr and Orth, Dip IMC

The Priory Hospital

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Mr Samir Nabil Massoud

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MCChB FRCSI FRCSI (orth)

The Droitwich Spa Hospital 1 more The Priory Hospital

View profile Book online

Ms Sabreena Mahroof

Consultant Hand Surgeon

MBBS, MRCS(Eng), FRCS(T&O), Dip Orth Eng, Br Dip Hand Surg

The Droitwich Spa Hospital 2 more The Edgbaston Hospital The Priory Hospital

View profile Book online

Mr Faisal Hussain

Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

MBBS, FRCS (Trauma and Orthopaedics)

The Edgbaston Hospital 1 more The Priory Hospital

View profile Book online

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