Tag Archive for: Orthopaedic Surgeons

Arthrex Knee and Shoulder Arthroscopy Course With Dr Bernard Lee

Thank you Arthrex for inviting Dr. Bernard Lee and hosting an insightful course for orthopaedic professionals.

We are honoured that Dr Bernard was able to share his experiences with medical professionals and empower them to deliver the highest level of care to all patients.

We look forward to making a bigger impact in orthopaedic medical education!

#Artherex #DrBernardLee #MedicalEducation #ShoulderElbowOrthopaedicGroup #SEOG #OrthopaedicProfessionals #ACLreconstruction #MeniscalRepairSolutions #ShoulderInstability #RotatorCuffTears


An Active Retirement: Getting Back To Doing What I Love

Article first published on Farrer Park Hospital

Painful and stiff shoulders in your later years do not have to hold you back from keeping fit and pursuing activities you enjoy. That was a priority for Madam Sakina Hoosenally, in her 70s, when she considered treatment options for her shoulder arthritis. She shared with us about her experience of living with shoulder arthritis and why she decided to go ahead with the surgery.

An Active Retirement

Though retired, Madam Sakina still taught yoga classes in the morning. She also swam daily when the weather permitted. Staying on her own, she desired to live independently for as long as possible.

Several years ago, both of her shoulders started causing her pain. She also had a hard time lifting her arms. “I found it was coming in the way of my yoga teaching … I couldn’t do many of the poses and it was just very frustrating,” she said.

Though the pain was not unbearable – she noted that many people could live with it – she found that it was interfering with her way of life, such as cooking for herself and affecting her sleep.

She reflected that she is now in her early 70s, and if she lives till her 90s, it won’t do to prolong the discomfort.

Seeking Treatment

After visiting several doctors, a friend recommended Dr. Ruben Manohara to Madam Sakina, a consultant orthopedic surgeon specializing in trauma management, sports injuries, and degenerative conditions.

Dr. Manohara diagnosed Madam Sakina with severe osteoarthritis of the shoulders. Shoulder arthritis affects 16% to 20% of those older than 65 years of age1, although it can occur as early as your 40s and 50s. In terms of its prevalence, he explained that there is no Singapore registry/data on shoulder-specific arthritis.

“Shoulder arthritis can be degenerative from overuse as well as genetic causes, from rheumatoid arthritis, from previous trauma, following massive rotator cuff tear and could occur following a joint infection,” he added. Besides the age related factor, he said the other risks factors include gender, race, suffering from gout and shoulder instability.

The condition refers to damage, usually wear and tear, of the cartilage, which covers the ends of bones to create a low-friction environment and allows the bones to glide smoothly over each other when the joints move. When the cartilage breaks down, the exposed bones may rub against each other and cause pain.

Symptoms often include shoulder pain, weakness, swelling or tenderness at the joint, and pain that could last for months or years2.

Dr. Manohara recalled that at that point, Madam Sakina had already tried treatments such as steroid injections and non-medical treatment like acupuncture, ayurvedic and physiotherapy, but to no avail. She was also unwilling to take painkillers over the long term and sought to resolve the pain with shoulder replacement surgery. “I was looking to restoring my mobility, and allowed me to continue exercising and teaching, and get on with my daily lifestyle.”

“When I first saw her in 2021, she was already living with the condition for four years. A replacement would have predictable, reliable good outcomes, in terms of pain relief, function and longevity of the implant,” Dr. Manohara explained.

“Such surgery would allow her to carry on with yoga, swimming, and other daily activities without pain and sleep without discomfort.

In addition, downtime was not an issue – even patients in their 70s to 80s usually recovered relatively quickly and easily after the procedure, compared to other major joint replacements.

For Madam Sakina, her friends’ support also helped her decide to go for surgery for her right shoulder.

The Key to Good Recovery

Following the smooth recovery of her right shoulder, Madam Sakina opted to also undergo surgery for her left shoulder about six to seven months later. She had her sights set on both shoulders being mobile enough for her to execute the downward facing dog pose and salutations in yoga that she had not been able to do for some years. She also wanted to be able to swim the freestyle stroke, which required both shoulders.

To her, an upbeat attitude was a huge help in recovering from the procedures. “Having gratitude and having a positive outlook is very important in recovery in your rehab,” she said. Madam Sakina also highlighted the importance of having a goal to look forward.

During the healing process, Madam Sakina was cautious when carrying heavy items such as groceries, usually using the arm that was not operated on to lift these. She also waited for a few more weeks before getting back to driving.

“I focus and work hard through exercise and regular physiotherapy to help me get back my mobility. For me, my right shoulder healed in 4 to 5 months after the operation while my left is about 90% healed 4 months since my surgery in March. For patients who are not dedicated to the rehab, it might take much longer,” she added.

After getting replacement surgery for both shoulders, carrying out her yoga poses was “much better than before”.

Aspiration for Health and Lifestyle

Looking back at the process of seeking and receiving treatment for shoulder arthritis, Madam Sakina said that the decision to undergo shoulder replacement surgery depends on the person’s aspiration for health and lifestyle.

“Not everyone may have the same urgency, need, or shared my goals.”

Receiving the treatment aligned with her personal life goals of sustaining her yoga practice and living independently for as long as possible. Though her left shoulder is still in the process of recovering, she is grateful for her regained mobility. She acknowledges that while a lot of hard work went into her rehabilitation, her mindset is that “it’s not going to get worse. It can only get better.

Orthopaedic Nurse Specialists Training With Arthrex

At Shoulder Elbow Orthopaedic Group, we understand the honour and responsibility bestowed on us when patients trust us with their health. Our orthopaedic multi-disciplinary team is committed to a shared purpose to ensure the best care for our patients. 

Arthrex Orthopaedic Nurses Specialists Training, Orthopaedic Training, Shoulder Elbow Orthopaedic Group, Orthopaedic Clinic Singapore

Hence it is not only crucial for our orthopaedic surgeons to be equipped with updated surgical skills and knowledge. However, it is also important that the Shoulder Elbow Orthopaedic Group’s orthopaedic nurse specialists receive training to update and improve their skills and knowledge. 

On 23 Feb 2022, we closed all Shoulder Elbow Orthopaedic Clinic branches so our nurses, accompanied by our orthopaedic specialists, could attend a hands-on skills training workshop. 

Arthrex Nurses Specialists Orthopaedic Training, Orthopaedic Training, Shoulder Elbow Orthopaedic Group, Orthopaedic Clinic Singapore

Thank you, Arthrex, for helping our nurses learn invaluable skills that will aid our aim always to provide better care for our patients.

Key Hole Surgery

Often when the topic of surgery comes up during the discussion with my patients, the question of how big will my scar be or how many stitches will there be comes up. The pleasant surprise will then commonly be that with current technology, many sports related joint injuries can be treated via small key holes now.


New Technology?

Truth is “Minimally Invasive (MIS)”, “Keyhole”, “Bandaid”, “Scope” surgery is not exactly that state of the art nowadays as it has been around for almost a century now and can safely be considered to be the mainstay treatment for most sports injuries.


Arthroscopic surgery has been reported since the 1910s but the technology and application greatly took off after the invention of fibre-optic cable when images can be projected into a television monitor. This saves us from having to struggle peering through a small peephole lens. This plus high definition lenses and monitors has made doing such procedures much clearer, easier and thus safer. Afterall, a surgeon should only operate on what he/she can see clearly.


So what exactly is KeyHole surgery.

KeyHole or Arthroscopic surgery is a type of orthopedic surgery that utilizes an instrument called an arthroscope which essentially is a lens connected via fibre-optic cable to a monitor. It is so called keyhole or minimally invasive as it can be performed requiring only small incisions, usually around around ¾ of a centimeter. These incisions are called portals. The word arthroscope is from the Greek words meaning “to look at joints.” The arthroscope is made up of a lens and a light source, and is connected to a video camera. The surgeon can view the inside of the joint directly through the arthroscope, or an image may be displayed on a monitor. This image gives the surgeon a clear view of the tissue inside the joint. The surgeon can then use other tiny instruments specially designed for arthroscopic surgery to perform necessary procedures. Arthroscopic surgery can be used as a diagnostic tool, or for therapeutic procedures ranging from easing the pain of arthritis patients to mending torn ligaments. This range from shoulder stabilization, rotator cuff repair, capsular release for frozen shoulder, acromioclavicular joint reconstruction (dislocation of the outermost part of the collar bone which many cyclist suffer from after a fall), tennis elbow release, knee meniscus debridement (clean up)/ repair, ligamentous (anterior and posterior cruciate) reconstruction, hip labral debridement repair. This is on top of the diagnostic arthroscopies we do for the joints and debridement of these joints.


Why KeyHole?


First I must quantify that although this technique is and can be used for many sports related injuries when all non operative options have been exhausted, it is not for every patient and every condition. In certain situations, trying to struggle through 4 to 5 small holes each around ¾ cm may cause more damage then just doing a simple mini-open procedure with a 3-4cm incision,

Nevertheless, extended exposure of joints during open surgery prolongs recovery and increases pain and risk of complications, such as infection and stiffness. Minimally invasive surgeries, in general, result in less pain and swelling after surgery than open techniques. As a result, arthroscopically treated patients tend to heal faster and begin rehabilitation earlier and, subsequently, return to normal activity and work sooner.

Technically, using a lens also allow surgeons to see certain parts of the joint that would otherwise be inaccessible through a limited mini-open incision as the lens can get into awkward corners of the joint easier.

Arthrocopic surgery has made some previously very long and arduous ones a lot more controlled and straightforward. This allow us to provide our patients a more predictable outcome in terms of results.

In some surgeries, arthroscopic techniques have become mainstays over open procedures like shoulder stabilization surgery, rotator cuff repair, acromioclavicular joint reconstructions, knee meniscus and ligamentous reconstruction. This is to an extend that the open surgery is only reserved for complex or revision (repeat) surgeries.

Another benefit of arthroscopy is that a lot of these procedures can be performed in an day surgery setting which can often reduce cost.


So what’s the down side?

As of all surgical procedures, there are risks. Like in all joint surgeries, risks include bleeding into the knee joint, damage to the cartilage, meniscus/labrum, or ligaments in the joint, blood clot in the leg (deep venous thrombosis), injury to a blood vessel or nerve, compartment syndrome when the fluid we use to pump into the joint to work (yes we work in an underwater environment) leaks into the calf area of the leg, infection in the joint and joint stiffness. Unique to arthroscopy, equipment failure accounted for a significant part of the complications. Arthroscopy is a technical procedure requiring a wide range of equipment (camera and monitor, surgical equipment, pump, tourniquet, etc.) that can malfunction or break during a procedure.


Arthroscopy, one of the greatest advances in orthopedic surgery in the 20th century, has been around for a almost a century. It offers a minimally invasive alternative to standard open surgical techniques, which often require extended incisions for adequate joint exposure to the extent that it has become the mainstay for many conditions. Decreased complications, pain, shorter recovery, and the resulting cost savings are proven advantages. Without a doubt, the advances of arthroscopic surgery will allow us to return our patients back to their peak performance a lot faster and with a lot less pain and fuss. With improvements in fibre-optics, lens and monitor technology, it will also allow surgeons to see clearer and as a result do better work for our patients, producing better results and allowing our patients not to have to live with their pain.