Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

What is shoulder and elbow surgery?

Shoulder and elbow surgery treats pain and stiffness in your upper limbs that may be due to injury, wear and tear, or a long-term condition. It aims to restore the full use of your shoulder or elbow without pain.

Fractures, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, cartilage damage, tendon, ligament and muscle tears or damage, connective tissue thickening, nerve impingement, dislocation, and instability are responsible for most shoulder and elbow problems.

Common conditions that shoulder and elbow surgery treat include:

  • Frozen shoulder
  • Rotator cuff tears
  • Shoulder dislocation
  • Shoulder and elbow arthritis
  • Shoulder and elbow bursitis
  • Shoulder and elbow fractures
  • Shoulder impingement syndrome
  • Shoulder subluxation
  • Tennis or golfer’s elbow

Common shoulder and elbow surgeries include

  • Elbow and shoulder arthroscopy – is also known as keyhole surgery. Arthroscopy allows your surgeon to look inside your elbow or shoulder through a small cut using a miniature camera. They can quickly diagnose problems and often treat them at the same time. Elbow arthroscopy is used to treat tennis elbow, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and fractures, to release scar tissue, and to remove loose cartilage and bone fragments in arthritis. Shoulder arthroscopy repairs rotator cuff tears, treats subacromial decompression for shoulder impingement, repairs tears from a dislocated shoulder, removes loose cartilage and bone fragments in arthritis, and performs SLAP repairs and capsular release for frozen shoulder.

  • Elbow and shoulder joint replacement - removes damaged areas of your elbow or shoulder joint and replaces them with parts made of metal and plastic (implants). This surgery is also called elbow or shoulder arthroplasty. It can be a partial replacement when only one surface of the joint is replaced or a total replacement that replaces the whole joint. Elbow joint replacement is performed to treat rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, severe fractures, bone tumour, and instability often caused by injury. Shoulder joint replacement surgery is done to treat osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, rotator cuff injuries, severe fractures, and osteonecrosis that can result in blood starvation to your humerus bone.

  • Reverse shoulder replacement – switches the socket and metal ball around so that the metal ball is fixed to your socket and the plastic cup is fixed to the upper end of your humerus. It is most often used if you have arthritis of the shoulder joint and your rotator cuff tendons are torn or gone and cannot be repaired. It can also be used if your previous shoulder replacement was unsuccessful, you have a complex fracture, a chronic shoulder dislocation, or a shoulder joint tumour.
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