All posts by Dr W Matthee

The distal biceps tendon tear – to fix or not to fix?

distal biceps tendon tears are common in body buildersThe distal biceps tendon tear is an injury which has occurred with increased frequency over the last few years. It is common in body builders. A complete tear will not heal on its own, and may lead to certain functional and cosmetic deficits. With good rehabilitation you may overcome some of the weakness caused by the injury, but to restore the natural contour of the biceps muscle and to obtain maximum strength, surgery will be needed…

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Tennis elbow can be beaten…six love

Tennis elbow is a common cause of elbow painBut how can I have tennis elbow? I don’t even play tennis! Most people I see who have developed pain on the outer aspect of their elbow are not tennis players. A mild discomfort can develop into a throbbing ache when picking up a suitcase or gripping something tightly. The pain can worsen until sleep is affected – the umpire is then usually consulted for a review. With the right treatment, you can make a strong comeback…

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Patients say the darndest things…

No-one likes to be told their work could be improved, much less myself. I suspect most surgeons think of themselves as perfectionists. We admit to “being a bit OCD”, all in the name of achieving the best result possible. Whatever miracles we may perform under the skin, it is the scar by which we are judged. We don’t always get it right. And every so often, a patient will let you know in his or her own unique way…

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I have knee swelling – should I be worried?

Knee swelling is common in runnersKnee swelling often occurs in conjunction with other symptoms, such as pain. If the swelling is mild or there are no other symptoms, it may go unnoticed. The nature of the swelling may give a clue as to it’s cause. Swelling is usually a sign that there is something wrong and this should be investigated. Don’t panic, though – not all causes of knee swelling require surgery and often there is a simple solution to the problem…

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ACL graft options in ACL reconstruction – which one?

ACL graft choice remains an important decision in ACL reconstructionThere are a variety of ACL graft options available for those needing ACL reconstruction. The decision on which graft is used is usually made on the surgeon’s recommendation. There are pro’s and con’s with each type of graft, and a basic understanding of these is recommended. Generally speaking, there is no one graft which is vastly superior to the others. Having said that, there are definitely options that are best avoided…

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Do I need surgery for a dislocated shoulder?

A shoulder dislocation may require surgery for instability (Bankart repair)A dislocated shoulder usually occurs as a result of trauma, such as a fall. Urgent treatment is needed to “put the shoulder back” or reduce the joint. Unfortunately, the dislocation causes damage to cartilage and sometimes also to bone which helps to stabilise the shoulder. This in turn can result in instability and repeated dislocations. Surgery may be needed to help stabilise the shoulder…

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What is a trigger finger, and how is it treated?

Trigger finger or trigger thumb may require a surgical releaseTrigger finger refers to a condition which causes a catching or locking sensation in the fingers (or thumb). It may begin only with pain, and but can progress to a situation where a finger gets stuck in the bent position and cannot be straightened (locked finger). In the early stages the finger may respond to cortisone injections. If this fails, a simple surgical procedure will resolve the problem…

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Calcific tendinitis of the rotator cuff

Calcific tendinitis may require surgery if it does not resolveCalcific tendinitis of the rotator cuff is a painful condition associated with calcium deposits in the shoulder. These may sometimes also be found in asymptomatic people. Calcific tendinitis can cause pain which may limit normal shoulder use and interfere with sleep. The calcium deposits may disappear with time. In some instances surgery may be needed to remove the calcification…

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Is MPFL surgery necessary for a dislocated kneecap?

A kneecap which keeps dislocating can cause significant problemsMPFL surgery (medial patellofemoral ligament surgery) is an operation performed for a dislocating or unstable kneecap (patella). Other terms are kneecap instability, patellar instability, patellar subluxation and recurrent patellar dislocation. I often see patients who have dislocated their kneecap. One episode may not mean surgery. A complete assessment is needed to recommend correct treatment…

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How is a meniscal repair performed?

Meniscal repair is necessary for reparable meniscal tears in the kneeA meniscal repair is considered for suitable candidates with a meniscal tear. If the meniscus is repairable then an attempt to repair it should be made. This will prevent further disability and reduce the risk of developing arthritis in the knee in later years. A meniscal repair, while not an emergency procedure, should be performed early to ensure the best results. But what are the techniques used to perform a repair?..

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