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Shoulder Surgery

Adam Flesher 28, from Horsforth, Leeds, had shoulder surgery in May 2014 under the care of Mr Michael Walsh, consultant orthopaedic surgeon.

Electrician Adam Flesher injured his right shoulder after a fall in January 2014. He tried various treatments, including physiotherapy and cortisone injections, but nothing worked long term.

The pain worsened to the point that it affected Adam’s work and he was forced to move to office-based duties.

“The pain was horrendous,” said Adam. “It got so bad that I could not lay on it or raise my arm above my shoulder. I had to stop my twice-weekly gym visits. Never mind lifting weights; I could not even lift a plastic carrier bag.”

Adam’s GP referred him to Spire Leeds Hospital where, following a scan, he was diagnosed with right shoulder impingement and AC (acromio-clavicular) joint disturbance and sprain. Adam underwent an arthroscopic subacromial decompression procedure in May 2014 under the care of Mr Mike Walsh, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon who specialises in shoulder surgery.

Mr Walsh said, “Adam had an injury to his right shoulder that had not responded to conservative treatment. If he had not undergone surgery it is likely he would have continued with severe pain and permanent functional limitations.”

As a married father with two boys aged nine and five, being physically inactive was not an option. “I like to go to the gym two or three times a week and stay in good shape and I love to play football with my sons,” said Adam.

Mr Walsh described the operation he performed. “The surgical procedure was performed arthroscopically (keyhole)* and involved essentially shaving away of some of the bone and clearance of damaged tissue to allow more movement and function without pain.”

After surgery, Adam was prescribed analgesia, a six-week course of physiotherapy and he also followed a home exercise programme. His strength and mobility improved steadily and he was able to return to light duties at work after just two weeks with the help of his wife, Leanne.

“Leanne was so supportive post-operation. Without her help I wouldn't have been able to get back to work so quickly,” said Adam.

“I built up strength over four to six weeks. It was brilliant to see how much I was advancing day by day. Ten weeks after surgery I was back in the gym and I make sure I keep myself even fitter now than before the surgery. The injury was unexpected at my age, I think it tends to happen more in the older generation and is also common in rugby players.”

Mr Walsh added, “The surgery went well as did the post-operative recovery. The results were excellent and Adam is now back to being fully active and mobile without pain.”

Adam said. “I’m very impressed with the hospital and with Mr Walsh. He explained everything very clearly in layman’s terms so I understood everything and knew what to expect before, during and after the operation. It was very reassuring.”

“It’s great to be back to normal activities again and to be able to play football with my sons. I’ve always taken exercise for granted. I enjoy it so much more now.”

Arthroscopic Subacromial Decompression

This is an arthroscopic (keyhole) procedure designed to release the tight ligament of the coracoacromial arch and to shave away some of the under surface of the acromion. This raises the roof of the shoulder, allowing more room for the rotator cuff tendons to move underneath. The tendon is then able to move more freely, breaking the cycle of rubbing and swelling of the tendon.

This operation is generally performed as a day case procedure with an interscaline nerve block and general anaesthetic. However, surgery is more frequently being performed under interscaline block and light sedation.