Elbow & Shoulder Care
Elbows and shoulders are hard working joints that can be prone to injury at any age. From sports injuries to arthritis, our physicians offer comprehensive diagnosis and treatment for elbow and shoulder disorders in both adults and children.
Elbow & Shoulder Care: Why Choose Wake Forest?
If your elbow and shoulder are injured, causing pain or not working right, you may worry that surgery is necessary. Sometimes it is the best treatment option, but at Wake Forest Baptist Health, our specialists use minimally invasive approaches whenever possible. Their specialized training in elbow and shoulder care helps them develop the best possible treatment plan for every patient. We offer:
- Special Training: Our physicians are fellowship-trained in shoulder and elbow surgery and are leaders in research for new treatments. Meet our hand, shoulder and elbow specialists.
- Experience: We provide care for collegiate athletes at Wake Forest and Winston-Salem State University as well as professional baseball players, basketball players, golfers and NASCAR racers.
- Minimally Invasive Technology: We provide solutions for sports injuries, arthritis and rotator cuff tears with a focus on minimally invasive options to provide our patients with faster recoveries and less pain.
- Personalized Care: No matter if you are an elite athlete or an active baby boomer, our goal is to customize a treatment that gets you back to your desired activity level as fast as possible.
Advanced Elbow and Shoulder Arthroscopy in Winston-Salem
At Wake Forest Baptist, we use the most advanced technology available to deliver the latest diagnostic and treatment options to our patients. Each year, our orthopaedic surgeons perform more than 400 minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder surgeries.
Arthroscopy allows physicians to access and view the patient's anatomy using a small camera. During the procedure, the surgeon operates through a few small incisions rather than one large incision. This method reduces damage to muscles and tissues surrounding the surgery site. Arthroscopy may be used to diagnosis a medical problem or to treat it.
The benefits of arthroscopy include:
- Less pain
- Shorter hospital stays
- Faster recoveries
Comprehensive Shoulder Surgery Options at Wake Forest
Our shoulder specialists are trained in every aspect of shoulder care, from the latest arthroscopic techniques to traditional open surgeries. We work to develop the best treatment option to fit every patient's anatomy, lifestyle and condition.
Our surgical options include:
- Rotator cuff and instability repair: We repair all types of rotator cuff injuries, whether damaged over time through sport or injured by acute trauma. Our surgeons are trained in both open and minimally invasive techniques to improve strength and movement of the shoulder.
- Shoulder impingement surgery: Wake Forest surgeons offer an arthroscopic procedure called subacromial smoothing to remove the inflamed bursa or bone spurs impeding the rotator cuff and improve movement.
Shoulder and Elbow Joint Replacement
At Wake Forest, our physicians are specially trained in both open and arthroscopic joint replacements. Each year, our surgeons perform approximately 100 shoulder replacement surgeries, including reverse replacements. The benefits of joint replacement include pain relief, enhancement of movement and mobility and improved quality of life.
Total shoulder replacement
We perform open and arthroscopic joint replacements. Whenever possible, we perform minimally invasive surgery, but sometimes, an open procedure is necessary. During a total shoulder replacement, the surgeon removes the natural "ball" at the top of the arm bone and replaces it with a metal implant. Next, he smoothes the socket portion of the joint and replaces it with a plastic socket that is attached to the shoulder bone.
Partial shoulder replacement
During this procedure, surgeons replace only the humerus head or top of the arm bone.
Reverse shoulder replacement
Patients with severe, irreparable rotator cuff tears may be candidates for reverse shoulder replacement, where the artificial components of the joint are reversed. The surgeon permanently attaches the ball of the joint to the shoulder socket and the cup to the upper humerus. This procedure allows a different set of muscles to control the movement of the arm. There are specific and limited conditions for which this operation is performed.
Surgeons cap the damaged ball of the upper arm bone in metal. This type of partial shoulder replacement requires less bone removal, uses a smaller incision and has a quicker recovery time than 'standard' partial replacement or a total joint replacement.
During an elbow replacement, the surgeon removes the damaged ends of the joint and replaces them with metal implants that recreate the hinge-like motion of the elbow joint.
Non-surgical Treatment Options for Elbow and Shoulder Problems
At Wake Forest Baptist, our orthopedic surgeons are trained in every type of surgery, but that doesn't mean we recommend surgery for every patient. We know undergoing any type of procedure - whether minimally invasive or open - can be intimidating, and is not always necessary.
That's why our physicians always consider non-surgical options with every patient. If possible, we can manage your pain and other symptoms with the following:
- Lifestyle changes
- Medications - Oral or steroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Rest and ice
Request an appointment online.