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Shoulder and elbow surgery

Our upper extremity team provides first-class assessment and treatment of all shoulder and elbow problems and is particularly concerned with the needs of amateur and professional sportspeople.

Our internationally-recognized team of specialists makes diagnoses and assesses the need for surgery based on your medical history and a range of established clinical tests, performing additional tests such as X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans and electrophysiological tests where necessary.

Areas of expertise

Thanks to its size and particular interest in the upper extremity, Balgrist University Hospital highly specialized in:

  • arthroscopic and open elbow surgery
  • arthroscopic surgery
  • placement of artificial replacement joints (total and partial prosthesis of the elbow)
  • complex elbow reconstruction where joints have been destroyed or where there are tumors
    (if necessary, we perform such operations in cooperation with the clinic’s own hand surgeons or other specialists)

All tests can be carried out at Balgrist University Hospital. This means that you can benefit from the latest examination and treatment techniques, which Balgrist University Hospital constantly updates on the basis of its own fundamental research and clinical studies.

Treatment and procedures

We, as a treatment center, are frequently asked to deal with conditions that cannot be treated by usual means or to correct the results of previous operations. This often entails complex tendon transfer operations and use of reverse shoulder prostheses.

We focus on:

  • rehabilitation after tendon tears in the rotator cuff
  • stabilization operations after shoulder dislocation
  • placing artificial replacement joints where joints have been destroyed by osteoarthritis or rheumatic diseases treating
  • fractures in the shoulder area


We are happy to arrange appointments on site or virtually for Wednesday and Friday.

You can reach us as follows:
Monday – Friday
08.30 a.m. – 12 noon
1 p.m. – 5.p.m.

Appointments PD Dr. med. Karl Wieser
+41 44 386 30 12
+41 44 386 30 09

Appointments Prof. Dr. med. Christian Gerber
+41 44 386 30 06

Animated shoulder videos

Rotator cuff tear

A rotator cuff tear is a tear or rupture of the tendons transmitting the strength of the muscles that connect the shoulder blade to the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff stabilizes the shoulder joint and allows you to lift and rotate your arm. A tear in these tendons impairs shoulder function and often causes pain that needs to be treated.

Shoulder prosthesis

Reverse total shoulder replacement is a common and effective method of treatment for patients with advanced osteoarthritis of the shoulder joint and a simultaneous irreparable tendon tear. The modular components of the artificial joints used today allow the shoulder joint to be reconstructed with improved mobility and reliable pain relief.

Dislocated shoulder

A dislocated (luxated) shoulder means that the head of the humerus has popped out of its socket. This displacement can damage the joint capsule and bone, as well as lead to permanent instability of the shoulder joint. A Latarjet procedure may be considered if conservative treatment fails to achieve adequate stability and, at the same time, the bony rim of the socket is damaged.

Information for referring doctors

Our focus

Our main goal is to find the highest common denominator between evidence-based shoulder and elbow surgery and the individual needs of our patients.

Indications and range of services

The shoulder/elbow team led by Dr. Wieser specialises in the following

  • Conservative/surgical treatment of rotator cuff tears, focussing on arthroscopic reconstruction techniques
  • Conservative/surgical treatment of anterior and posterior shoulder instability
  • Conservative/surgical treatment of acute and chronic elbow instability
  • Conservative/surgical treatment of primary and secondary arthritis of the shoulder and elbow joints
  • Conservative/surgical treatment of all bone and ligament injuries, including dislocation of the shoulder or elbow

We offer the following medical services *

Shoulder girdle:

  • Arthroscopic repair and reconstruction of the rotator cuff, including complex tears, revision surgery, and tendon transfers in irreparable cases
  • Arthroscopic and open surgery of the acromioclavicular and sternoclavicular joints with arthritis or instability
  • Arthroscopic and open surgery for stability (Latarjet procedure, arthroscopic Bankart repair, anterior and posterior bone block transfers, etc.)
  • Implantation of anatomical and reverse total shoulder joint prostheses, as well as partial joint operations, including revision surgery
  • Arthroscopic capsulotomy and catheter mobilization for frozen shoulder


  • Stabilization of elbow instability
  • Arthroscopic and open surgical release for tennis elbow
  • Neurolysis and anterior nerve transposition (sometimes working together with our hand surgeons)
  • Arthrolysis for post-traumatic or postoperative joint stiffness
  • Implantation of total or partial elbow prostheses, including revision surgery


  • Osteosynthesis and ligament repairs, including revision surgery for all traumatic lesions of the upper limb
  • Computer-assisted correction osteotomy and segmental reconstruction of chronic bone defects (CARD)
  • Diagnostic investigation and treatment of unexplained shoulder pain
  • Second opinions and expert reports (including interdisciplinary work)

* this is not an exhaustive list; our orthopaedic surgeons are happy to offer advice about specific situations.

The benefit to your patients

Our medical services offer your patients the following advantages

  • Pure evidence-based conservative and surgical therapeutic approaches
  • Highly qualified subspecialty doctors at all professional levels
  • Wide experience with complex situations over many years
  • Close interdisciplinary cooperation with other in-house orthopaedic and related specialties (rheumatology, radiology, neurology, anesthesia, and spinal cord injuries)
  • In-house associated physiotherapy team specializing in the upper limb
  • Implementation of the latest research results in diagnosis and treatment