shoulder surgery consultation

What to expect at your shoulder surgery consultation

The unique and complex anatomy of the shoulder joint means it has the greatest range of motion, but also makes it most susceptible to repetitive injuries, ageing and stress. Most problems in the shoulder involve the muscles, ligaments and tendons rather than the bone.

Shoulder pain can be the result of a number of conditions, including trauma to the shoulder, rotator cuff damage, tears to the glenoid labrum, acromioclavicular (AC) joint injury, frozen shoulder or instability and dislocation.

Many shoulder injuries can be addressed at home through RICE method – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation – but you should arrange a consultation with a shoulder specialist if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Your shoulder joint looks swollen and deformed
  • Intense pain around the shoulder
  • Inability to move the shoulder or perform normal activities
  • Audible popping or cracking sound
  • Shooting pain down the arm
  • Numbness or weakness in the arm or hand

During your shoulder surgery consultation, your London Shoulder Specialist will take a full medical history. In particular, assessing the degree of pain, loss of function and sleep disturbance you’re experiencing. Details of your symptoms and your lifestyle – sporting activities you enjoy regularly or type of employment – will guide the diagnosis.

They will also discuss any other treatments you’ve undergone and perform a physical examination to assess the range of motion and strength in the shoulder.

If required, your London Shoulder Specialist will order imaging tests. X-rays do not show the soft tissues but can be used to identify changes in the shoulder blade shape, bone spurs or fractures. An X-ray can assess wear or tear of the ball and socket or collar bone which would indicate osteoarthritis. An ultrasound can reveal tears in the tendons or impingement. At that point, you may require an MRI which will deliver a much clearer image of the soft tissues.

Questions to ask your shoulder surgeon during your consultation

Important areas to cover include whether surgery is the right choice for you at this time and what you can expect if you don’t choose to go ahead with surgery. You can also ask about the surgeon’s own experience, including success rates and possible complications.

  1. Is surgery my best option?
  2. Are my expectations from surgery realistic?
  3. What are the alternatives treatment options?
  4. If I delay surgery at this time, what are the implications in terms of function and pain?
  5. What is the recovery like after shoulder surgery?
  6. What complications can I expect after this surgery and how will these be managed?
  7. How many of these procedures have you performed and what are your success rates?
  8. Where will the operation be carried out?

To arrange a shoulder surgery consultation with the London Shoulder Specialists, call us on 020 3195 2442 or email Although all non-urgent / elective surgery bookings and appointments are postponed at the moment, we are still available for consultation either by telephone or video link.