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General enquiries:
+44 (0)207 935 4444
Book an appointment:
+44 (0)207 616 7693
Self-pay enquiry:
+44 (0)203 219 3315

The shoulder is one of the most mobile joints in the body, but arthritis and injury can make it painful and stiff. If conservative measures like physiotherapy and pain relief haven’t resolved your shoulder symptoms, the world-leading orthopaedic surgeons at The London Clinic can operate to replace the joint, relieve pain and restore movement and function. 

The London Clinic’s highly-skilled orthopaedic surgeons have access to the latest diagnostic tests and state-of-the-art operating facilities. Following surgery, the expert physiotherapy team will support your shoulder’s healthy rehabilitation using advanced evidence-based therapies.

What is shoulder replacement surgery?

Shoulder replacement is surgery to remove the damaged part of the joint and replace it with specially-designed components. 

The shoulder is a joint made up of a ball and a socket. During a total shoulder replacement, the surgeon replaces the head of the humerus and the socket with high tech prosthetic devices made of metal and plastic. However, if the socket is healthy, the surgeon will only replace the ball at the top of the humerus.

Shoulder replacement is a highly-technical, open operation that requires specialist skills. The London Clinic has orthopaedic surgeons with extensive experience and expertise in replacing shoulders and supporting your healthy recovery.

Who could benefit from shoulder replacement?

Not everyone with shoulder problems needs joint replacement. The right surgery for your shoulder will depend on your specific problem, the way it impacts on your life and your general health and fitness.

Shoulder replacement can help people with severe shoulder damage that is causing pain and restricting movement. Arthritis can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling in the shoulder. It develops because of injuries, wear and tear, or inflammatory diseases. 

Shoulder arthritis can be distressing and disabling and can reduce your quality of life. The London Clinic provides specialist assessment and diagnosis of shoulder problems and a comprehensive range of treatments to reduce pain and restore function. 

Treatment options

The London Clinic offers many treatments and surgical procedures designed to improve movement and flexibility in the shoulder joint. 

For many individuals, specialist physiotherapy, modification of movements and steroid injections can postpone or prevent the need for surgical intervention.

The orthopaedic surgeons can also perform:

Shoulder arthroscopy

Through small incisions in the skin, your surgeon will introduce delicate surgical instruments and a tiny camera that relays detailed images of the joint to a computer screen. Through the arthroscope, the orthopaedic consultant can make a diagnosis and operate to resolve many shoulder problems. 

Arthroscopic release of frozen shoulder

Minimally-invasive surgery in which the consultant cuts through the adhesions that are restricting joint mobility.

Arthroscopic removal of bony spurs

Spurs are bony growths that can develop because of osteoarthritis. They cause pain, stiffness, numbness and pins and needles. Your surgeon can shave the lumps away during arthroscopy, opening up the joint space and decreasing discomfort.

The London Clinic offers thorough assessment and investigation of your shoulder so that you can access the best treatment to resolve your symptoms.

Consultation for shoulder replacement surgery at The London Clinic

Our experienced orthopaedic surgeons will assess and advise you in The London Clinic’s comfortable and well-equipped consulting rooms. They will take a detailed medical history, examine your shoulder, and ask about the impact your symptoms have on your wellbeing and function.

Your consultant may arrange tests and investigations in the cutting-edge imaging suite. These may include:

  • Shoulder X-ray
  • MRI scanning.

In consultation with you, they will then plan your admission for shoulder replacement and advise you about any preparation. They will take the time to answer all your questions and address any concerns.

Shoulder replacement surgery at The London Clinic

The orthopaedic surgeons at The London Clinic perform shoulder replacement surgery under general anaesthetic or a regional nerve block that numbs the area. You will need to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days so that the team can monitor your recovery and start your rehabilitation. 

Your surgeon will make an incision in the skin on the front of your shoulder. They will carefully remove the damaged head of the humerus. They will also examine the joint socket in your shoulder blade to assess the level of damage. Depending on their findings, they will decide on total or partial shoulder replacement surgery. 

In a partial replacement, they will replace the ball with a smooth, metal prosthetic device. In total shoulder replacement, they will also excise the socket and replace it with a component that is usually made of plastic.

The consultant will securely fix the shoulder replacement onto the bone using cement or screws. Finally, the surgeon will close the incision with sutures and apply dressings and bandages to cover and protect the wounds. The procedure takes around 90 minutes.

Recovery and aftercare

Following your surgery, The London Clinic's staff will provide support, assess your progress, and give you a bespoke rehabilitation plan.

The nerve block will reduce pain for the first 24 hours; after this, the staff on the ward will give you painkillers to keep you comfortable. Your shoulder will be swollen, sore, and stiff for several weeks. Applying icepacks and taking regular analgesia painkillers can reduce swelling and ease any discomfort. 

You will be given a sling to rest and support your arm. You will need to wear it for three weeks, or as instructed by your surgeon. The London Clinic's specialist physiotherapy team will give you a bespoke programme of exercises to help you regain strength, fitness, and mobility. 

The London Clinic has a state-of-the-art physiotherapy suite, including a gym and a hydrotherapy pool. The rehabilitation team can use the Biodex isokinetic machine to assess your muscle strength and monitor progress.

They will also provide an exercise plan to follow at home, which will take account of your ability, your surroundings, and any equipment you might have available. The London Clinic team will always be on hand if you have any questions, problems or worries.

Frequently asked questions

Is shoulder replacement safe?

There are risks with any surgical procedure. The London Clinic is dedicated to reducing complications and helping your recovery. Problems with pain, bleeding, scarring, blood clots, and infection can happen after any operation. Specific issues with shoulder replacement are uncommon but include nerve injury, failure of the prosthesis, dislocation, joint infection and recurrence of symptoms requiring revision surgery.

Speak to your surgeon if you have any concerns. They will always take time to discuss the pros and cons of the procedure and answer any questions. 

Will I need help at home after surgery?

After shoulder surgery, it can be challenging to manage the normal activities of daily living. Washing, dressing, cooking and toileting can be tricky with your arm in a sling. The rehabilitation team will let you know how much you can move your arm. However, it's helpful to have someone around at home to offer support and a helping hand.

Can I have a bath after surgery?

You should keep the wound dry for at least a week. After that, it's safe to shower. However, you shouldn't submerge your shoulder in a bath or swimming pool until the wound has healed. This helps reduce the risk of infection. The London Clinic team will provide personal advice and guidance on aftercare following your procedure.

Why choose The London Clinic?

The London Clinic is dedicated to providing the best, personalised healthcare with over 600 world-renowned consultants available to offer informed health advice and treatment.

Spanning Harley Street and Devonshire Place, The London Clinic is situated in the heart of London’s internationally-known medical district. This central location, together with state-of-the art technologies and facilities that are not widely available in other hospitals, makes The London Clinic the hospital of choice for around 120,000 patients every year.

The London Clinic is an HTA licensed and JACIE accredited cancer centre with an ‘Excellent’ MacMillan Quality Environment Mark and with access to a Level 3 intensive care unit.

Offering affordable and competitive self-pay packages and expert support from Clinical Nurse Specialists and our specialised multidisciplinary team, over 98% of our patients said they would recommend The London Clinic to their friends and families.

Treatment cost

The London Clinic offers affordable, competitive self-pay packages for certain treatments. An All-Inclusive Package for this treatment is available from £12,150.

Patients have the option to spread the cost of treatment with Chrysalis Finance.

Please call +44 (0)20 3613 7502 to speak to our helpful team to find out more and to book an appointment.

Main numbers

General enquiries: 020 7935 4444 Appointments: 020 7616 7693 Self-Pay: 020 3219 3315

Contact numbers for service departments

Other numbers

Concierge service: 020 3219 3323International office: 020 3219 3266Invoice and payment enquiries: 020 7616 7708Press office 020 7616 7676

Your call may be recorded for training and monitoring purposes.

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