Frequently Asked Questions


What does a referral to The Shoulder Centre mean for me?

Being referred to The Shoulder Centre means that you are being treated by a community of care providers who are committed to improving your shoulder function and improving your quality of life.  Members of The Shoulder Centre team will work to decrease the time it takes you to be diagnosed and start the most appropriate treatment plan.  Your time is valuable to us.  Our goal is to use it efficiently with you and to avoid diagnostic tests and treatments that don’t directly contribute to making your shoulder feel better.


Who reviews my referral once it is sent to The Shoulder Centre?

All referrals sent to The Shoulder Centre are reviewed by Fellowship-trained Orthopaedic Surgeons.  The referral form available on this site was developed by these surgeons to get you to the most appropriate treatment as close to your home as possible.


How long will I wait to see someone from The Shoulder Centre?

Our commitment is to keep waiting lists below eight weeks for an initial visit with a shoulder expert who will diagnose your shoulder problem, formulate a treatment plan and/or arrange additional tests if needed.


Do I need an MRI?

One of the main objectives of The Shoulder Centre is to provide the correct diagnosis and initiate the most appropriate treatment in the right place at the right time.  In most cases, we can do this based on your history and physical examination with very few, if any, diagnostic imaging tests.  Most of the time, we do not require an MRI scan.  Waiting for the availability of an MRI scan may unnecessarily delay your treatment and an accurate diagnosis may be made using information that we gather from you and which your referring physician has already provided.  If additional diagnostic tests are required, The Shoulder Centre will arrange the most appropriate ones to help us treat your condition.


Who will I see when I come for my first visit?

All patients presenting to The Shoulder Centre will see a Shoulder Expert.  At The Shoulder Centre you may see a physician assistant working side-by-side with a shoulder surgeon or a shoulder specialist nonsurgical physician.  Some patients may see a shoulder surgeon on their first visit based on information provided by your referring physician.  A physiotherapist may also be involved in your visit.  All members of The Shoulder Centre team have access to all forms of diagnostic tests (such as MRI) and treatment for your shoulder including surgery and will create a customized treatment plan based on your diagnosis.  Depending on the situation you may see more than one shoulder expert on a visit.


How do I request a specific provider?

If you are committed to treatment by a specific provider at The Shoulder Centre you can have your family physician request consultation with that provider on the referral form.  In that case wait times for initial consultation will be longer than those for next available.  The Shoulder Centre model of care is founded on the standardization of care using the best available evidence, so you can feel comfortable that any provider in the community of care will provide you the highest level of care when you are at The Shoulder Centre.