Shoulder and Elbow Surgery

The Department of Orthopedics and Trauma Surgery offers a full range of diagnostic and treatment procedures for elbow and shoulder injuries and diseases. This allows us to offer our patients comprehensive medical treatment and care for all orthopedic and trauma surgery needs. As a university clinic, all of our medical care and treatment is delivered in line with the latest scientific evidence and modern treatment approaches.

Our diagnostic equipment includes conventional technology such as x-rays, Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners. We also perform special arthro CT and arthro MRI scans whenever there is a need to obtain highly detailed information about potential changes, and can obtain dynamic images of joints using our modern ultrasound machine. Our cooperation with the Hospital's Institute of Neurology furthermore allows us to use the full range of electrophysiological diagnostic tests.

Our Strengths

Cutting-edge medical treatment and multidisciplinary care

We are able to offer patients with complex fractures or congenital anomalies, infections or multiple internal conditions comprehensive medical treatment and care in cooperation with other specialists from University Hospital Cologne.

New surgical methods

Our specialists are constantly working to develop new surgical methods to improve joint mobility and reduce post-surgery pain. This has allowed us, for example, to develop a new surgical method for radial shortening performed to treat arthritis that, worldwide, is currently only performed at the University Hospital Cologne.

New implants

One main research and development focus of our department has been to contribute to the development of new osteosynthesis implants. These implants are designed to, for example, restore joint function as quickly as possible after a fracture and allow patients to regain joint mobility even more quickly than before.

New insights through research

Our clinic has its own Department of Biomechanics, which allows us to conduct a wide range of scientific research. The main thrust of our research in this area is focused on investigating joint stability and pressure distribution at the elbow as well as ligament replacement surgery. We have furthermore been able to present the insights gained from our elbow research in more than 30 publications and book contributions in recent years.

Postoperative rehabilitation

Our close collaboration with our internal Rehabilitation Department (UniReha) allows us to provide our patients with interdisciplinary postoperative care as well as physiotherapy, manual and occupational therapy, all of which are provided in close consultation between the treating physician and therapists.

Elbows

Elbows are highly complex joints. They comprise three different joints – the humerus in the upper arm, the ulna and the radius – that work in unison when the arm is moved. When an elbow is not functioning normally, even simple movements may become painful or even impossible to perform. These kinds of mobility restrictions can be caused by a variety of conditions ranging from, for example, fractures and injuries to tendons to degenerative diseases. 

At our elbow cosultation hours, patients with elbow conditions are provided with the best possible advice and medical care by our elbow specialists Prof. Dr. Lars P. Müller and PD Dr. Kilian Wegmann, both of whom have extensive clinical and scientific experience in the treatment of elbows and are highly respected in the field for their work.

Our specializations at a glance

  • Stiff elbows
  • Elbow arthritis
  • Tennis and golfer's elbow
  • Nerve compression syndrome
  • Loose bodies in the elbow joint (osteochondritis dissecans)
  • Biceps tendon tears
  • Elbow fractures; depending on severity, either conservatively using osteosynthesis or, in non-reconstructible injuries, using prostheses
  • Dislocated elbows
  • Torn tendons at the elbow
  • Post-traumatic mobility limitations – using arthroscopic and open surgery
  • Loose bodies in elbow following trauma (primarily using arthroscopy )
  • Post-traumatic arthritis (degenerative) – depending on severity, treated either using open surgery, arthroscopy or by performing a joint replacement
  • Fractures in patients with elbow prostheses

Our treatment procedures at a glance

  • Radial shortening for the treatment of arthritis
  • Ligament replacement for elbow instability
  • Minimal-invasive arthroscopic surgery
  • Microsurgery (using an operating microscope)
  • Open surgery
  • Elbow replacement surgery
  • Replacement of loose or infected prostheses
Elbow conditions and injuries

Our laboratory is one of only a few facilities worldwide to use a state-of-the-art infrared measuring unit in conjunction with a special six-axes robot for precision investigations of the elbow joint. This allows us to gain a dynamic, three-dimensional and high-resolution view of the joint's structures, which provides us with new information on these structures, their functional capabilities and the underlying causes of injuries and diseases. The high-profile research work conducted by our department furthermore means that we are in possession of the largest clinical database of prospective studies of elbow pathology in the whole of Germany.

Our department offers the complete range of conservative and surgical treatment options for treating elbow injuries and conditions and currently performs more than 400 operations a year – which makes us the 2nd most important elbow, shoulder and hand surgery center in Germany. The surgical procedures we offer include all reconstructive as well as joint replacement surgery of the elbow joint. One of our main specializations is the treatment of accident-related injuries to the elbow joint. We furthermore have specific proven expertise in total elbow joint endoprosthesis or replacement. Thanks to our experience with microsurgery, which we also use in hand surgery, we are furthermore able to offer effective treatment for stiff elbow joints, elbow instability and nerve compression syndrome.

Shoulders

The shoulder joints are the most flexible of the body's ball joints. They are particularly prone to injury and have a much higher tendency to dislocate than other joints. When exposed to persistent or excessive strain through physical activity at work or in sports, they can quickly suffer damage and injury. This will not only give rise to pain, but can also limit mobility, making physical activity at home, work and during sports challenging.

Our treatment specializations at a glance

  • Shoulder instabilities
  • Rotator cuff injuries
  • Biceps tendonitis
  • Calcific tendinitis
  • Sports injuries to the shoulder
  • Acromioclavicular joint injury
  • Shoulder stiffness
  • Shoulder arthritis

Our treatment procedures at a glance

  • Shoulder arthroscopy 
  • Minimally invasive rotator cuff reconstruction
  • Minimally invasive biceps tenodesis
  • Arthroscopic shoulder stabilization
  • Bone block shoulder stabilization  
  • Anatomic shoulder replacements 
  • Reverse shoulder replacements
Degenerative shoulder conditions and injuries of the shoulder

Our department specializes in particular in the treatment of degenerative conditions of the shoulder. Degenerative conditions are diseases or changes that are the result of the natural process of aging and normal wear. One of the most common degenerative conditions of the shoulder – just as in other joints – is arthritis, which is the result of cartilage loss. However, degenerative conditions can also affect shoulder muscles, such as the rotator cuff. 

Our specialists offer a broad spectrum of arthroscopic shoulder surgery, including subacromial decompression for impingement syndrome, shoulder stabilization surgery, rotator cuff repair and treatments for stiff shoulders. In advanced degeneration, it may be necessary to undergo shoulder replacement surgery, which is an area that our specialists have extensive experience in.

Accident-related shoulder injuries, such as fractures and damage to the capsule or tendons, can furthermore restrict mobility regardless of age. Our specialists treat fractures of the humerus, shoulder blade and collarbone, which are predominantly seen in older patients, both conservatively as well as using arthroscopic (minimally invasive) and open surgery. Our department also performs revision surgery for failed interventions.

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