Shoulder & Elbow

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Whether you are suffering from a torn rotator cuff or complex instability of the elbow, our shoulder and  elbow specialists have expertise in treating a wide range of shoulder and elbow problems. Our team of fellowship-trained physicians, nurses, and physical and occupational therapists are skilled at treating common and complex conditions.

Our shoulder and elbow service is recognized as one of the  nation’s most experienced centers for shoulder replacement, rotator cuff repair and shoulder instability surgery. We collectively see over 10,000 patient visits per year. Our team is actively involved in research designed to improve clinical  outcomes from these procedures.

Commonly Treated Conditions

Procedures Performed

*Typically performed as a minimally-invasive procedure in an outpatient setting. 

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Treatment Approach

With a multidisciplinary approach to the evaluation and management of shoulder and elbow conditions, the team provides comprehensive evaluations to determine the extent of a condition as well as the optimal treatment program for each patient. For many, conservative treatment and rehabilitation  options are highly successful. Among the non-surgical procedures performed to relieve pain and improve function is the use of fluoroscopic-guided injections into painful or arthritic joints.

When surgery is recommended, patients benefit from our expertise and excellent outcomes with minimally invasive procedures, including arthroscopic surgery. By using these less invasive techniques, patients are able to recover faster with less pain and better mobility than with traditional open reconstructive surgery. More significantly, these advanced techniques enable physicians to treat many shoulder and elbow disorders that historically led to years of pain and dysfunction.

When necessary, traditional open-surgery procedures can optimize patient recovery and mobility. These procedures can be performed on an outpatient basis. Our physicians are experts in both shoulder and elbow joint replacement, and in the reconstruction of complex fractures around the shoulder and elbow. Computer-assisted shoulder arthroplasty is performed for complex arthritic deformities.

In some cases, fractures can be repaired using less invasive percutaneous fixation techniques, eliminating the need for casting, although a splint is still required. Our inpatient and  outpatient rehabilitation focuses on rapidly restoring motion, strength and function.

Research & Clinical Trials

The shoulder and elbow specialists at Washington University Orthopedics are actively involved both basic and clinical research.

  • Natural history of asymptomatic rotator cuff tears
  • Structural integrity in the healing of rotator cuff injuries following surgical repair
  • Evaluation of clinical results after innovative arthroscopic procedures around the elbow
  • The influence of rotator cuff tears on shoulder biomechanics
  • The use of advanced imaging, including ultrasound and MRI, in distinguishing various stages of rotator cuff disease
  • Evaluation of outcomes after shoulder and elbow arthroplasty

For information on current clinical trials related to orthopedics, or to make an appointment with a specialist with Washington University Orthopedics, please call (314) 514-3500 or toll free (866) 867-3627.

Meet Our Team

Jay Keener, MD

Chief, Shoulder and Elbow

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Alexander Aleem, MD, MSc

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Melissa Wright, MD

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Benjamin Zmistowski, MD

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Patient Stories

Melanie Getz

Melanie Getz - Rotator Cuff Repair 

As an acclaimed international athlete known for powerlifting and triathlons, Melanie Getz didn't want rotator cuff repair surgery to interrupt her athletic activities. When she sought out a second opinion from shoulder and elbow specialist Jay Keener, MD, she immediately felt at ease. He understood her expectations and goals of returning to an active lifestyle post-surgery. After two rotator cuff surgeries, Melanie is back in the gym at full force, and continues to enjoy boot camp class and training.

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Read Melaine's Story

Patient Education

The Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has no control over third-party websites and does not review such websites. The university disclaims any responsibility for the content of third-party websites and the use of any information on these sites.

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