About The Shoulder Centre

The Shoulder Centre formed at Rouge Valley Health System as a result of the collaboration between five great shoulder surgeons. Although years of experience in treating shoulder problems at the Rouge Valley Ajax and Pickering hospital and Rouge Valley Centenary hospital built strong clinical and surgical teams all team members felt compelled to expand the ability to treat an increasing number of patients. In addition, the team felt that many patients could be treated more quickly, receiving a diagnosis and initial treatment plan within 8 weeks of referral, addressing the rising cost of care.

The Shoulder Centre was created to build the capacity to assess and treat all shoulder problems accurately and with shortened wait times. Smarter communication with primary care practitioners, trained shoulder experts and collaboration with radiologists, physiotherapists and outside primary care groups allows shoulder problems to be treated with as little waste to the patient as possible. Eventually, our goal is to fulfill the Ministry of Health mandate to provide the right care at the right place at the right time.

The formation of a publicly-funded, innovative care model would not be possible without the partnership between Rouge Valley Health System, Surgeons and the Rouge Valley Health System Foundation. This group plans on measuring the effect of changes in wait times, imaging utilization and sharing their learnings to apply successful strategies in reforming other areas of specialty care.

Our first goal in creating The Shoulder Centre is to decrease the time taken to diagnose shoulder conditions and provide a rational, evidence-based treatment program.  As part of that goal we focus on providing education to patients and family members on the causes of common shoulder issues so that patients can participate in their care actively.  In addition, the practitioners in The Shoulder Centre use up-to-date clinical research to guide patient decision-making.  We also track out patient outcomes so that we can show our surgical results and compare them to an international average.

Imaging at the Rouge Valley Health System is an important element of the care The Shoulder Centre provides.  We have created a strong bond with our Diagnostic Imaging department and have access to ultrasound and MRI, including urgent imaging when required.  In addition, one of our members is trained in electrodiagnostic studies, including electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction studies.  Access to these services and our close relationship to radiologists creates a system able to diagnose and treat complex problems.

The majority of the surgical care provided by The Shoulder Centre focuses on minimally-invasive arthroscopic procedures.  This involves the use of a camera and surgical tools designed to perform surgery through very small incisions.  In many cases this provides a better visualization of the many of the structures in the shoulder and allows us to perform the majority of our procedures on an outpatient basis.  Arthroscopy also allows surgeons to photograph the inside of the shoulder so patients can see the problems surgeons encounter and understand the treatments provided.  When necessary, our surgeons also recommend open surgeries for complex diagnoses requiring bone transfers and shoulder replacement which are also provided in our centre.

The Rouge Valley Health System has built an expertise in regional anaesthesia to work to improve the pain control during and after shoulder surgery.  In addition, The Shoulder Centre has worked with the Anaesthesia Department to develop a method of preoperative