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  • Applications for the shoulder fellowship starting in 2017 is now open.
    Please apply by visiting the Unit and sending your CV to Jan Barker
    Visits to the Reading shoulder unit are welcome - Please liaise with Jan Barker [Read more]
  • RSU is advertising for shoulder fellowship to start in July 2017
    a post-CCT shoulder fellowship for One year. please send CV to Mrs Jan Barker and arrange a visit to meet Prof Levy and Mr Sforza. [Read more]
  • Coming up courses:

    The Reading Expert Shoulder Course 15-16 April 2019
    Instructional Course

    Smith & Nephew Expert Connect Centre Watford, United Kingdom
    15-16 April 2019
    Course Convener: Prof Ofer Levy (UK)

  • IDO Isometer Shoulder Muscle Strength Gauge.

    Available to buy online in - Innovative Design Orthopaedics - [Read more]
  • Shoulder study day for Physiotherapists 26 February 2019 at 18:00 
    at the Royal Berkshire Hoapital.
    Please register your interest by e-mail to: [Read more]
  • For GPs - New!!! NHS Choose & Book
    The Unit at Berkshire Independent Hospital is open for NHS patients through Choose & Book (Extended Choice Network).
    Book online
    or contact the secretaries. [Read more]
  • Groundbreaking research from the Reading Shoulder Unit by Prof. Ofer Levy and his team regarding Propionibacterium Acnes and shoulder arthritis. 
    Propionibacterium acnes: an underestimated etiology in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis?

    This is a very important article in that it suggests the presence of propionibacterium in previously unoperated shoulders with arthritis and furthermore that 'aseptic' failures of shoulder arthroplasty may, in fact, be related to indolent infections with this slow growing organism.
    Read comments by Dr Frederick A. Matsen III, M.D.
    [Read more]
  • New Survey on usage of shoulder replacement prostheses.
    Take the survey [Read more]
  • Listen to the BBC Radio4 programme - a day in the operating theatre at the Reading Shoulder Unit at the Royal Berkshire Hospital - Case Notes with Dr Mark Porter on Regional anaesthesia for shoulder surgery [Read more]
  • The least complications with the Verso shoulder compared with other reverse shoulder systems
    From the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham, UK

    Bone Joint J 2013 vol. 95-B no. SUPP 27 25

    S. Robati, M.K. Shahid, J. Allport, A. Ray and G. Sforza 
  • Once again we are running the successful Reading Shoulder Arthroplasty Instructional Course on Friday,  30 September 2016
    • Re-Live surgery
    • Lectures
    • Discussions 
    • Clinical session with patients presentations
    • Hand-on workshop on models
    • Workshop for theatre nurses

    CME Points applied (6 CME Points approved by the BOA for the previous course)

      Register early - limited places

    [Read more]
  • The Verso stemless rTSA is approved in Australia & New Zealand by the TGA.
    Its use is launched soon in Australia & New Zealand. 

  • Excellent clinical results over more than 11 years with the Verso rTSA.
    Very high patient satisfaction and return to full activities including sports. [Read more]
  • The Reading Expert Shoulder Course 15-16 April 2019

    Instructional Course
    Smith & Nephew Expert Connect Centre Watford, United Kingdom
    15-16 April 2019
    Course Convener: Prof Ofer Levy (UK)


    The Reading Expert Shoulder Course is a two day advanced shoulder course. All the delegates are experienced shoulder surgeons and “All are Faculty”.

    Day One will cover arthroscopic techniques for treatment of complex instability, arthroscopic bone block, arthroscopic Latarjet, and Biceps procedures. Comparison of different methods of rotator cuff repair, various approaches to manage the massive rotator cuff tear, Suprascapular nerve release and more.

    Day Two will cover advances and innovations in total shoulder replacement, especially reverse TSA and stemless rTSA.
    The course will involve lecture-based discussions but is primarily a cadaver lab course with ample opportunity to practice the techniques taught in the Expert Connect Centre.

    Accreditation - Accredited by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

    Participant profile

    This course is an advanced shoulder course aimed at experienced shoulder surgeons who want to further discuss and develop advanced arthroscopic and arthroplasty skills. Ideal candidates are Shoulder Consultant in first 3-4 years of practice, and even more experienced Consultants.

    Course Faculty

    International Faculty

    Prof Ettore Taverna - OBV Hospital Mendrisio, Switzerland
    Dr Carlos Torrens Canovas - Parc de Salut Mar, Spain
    Dr Juan Bruguera - Unidad de Hombro y Codo, Spain
    Dr Bernd Hinkenjann - St. Agnes Hospital Bocholt, Germany

    UK Faculty

    Mr Jaime Candal Couto - Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust, UK
    Mr Roger Hackney - Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, UK
    Mr Kapil Kumar - Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, UK
    Mr George Arealis – East Kent HUF Trust, UK
    Mr Amar Malhas - Royal Berkshire Hospital, UK
    Ms Julie McBirnie - Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, UK
    Mr Hannan Mullett - Sports Surgery Clinic Ireland
    Mr Jai Relwani - William Harvey Hospital, UK
    Mr Sunil Sharma - Queen Margaret Hospital, UK
    Mr Giuseppe Sforza - Berkshire Independent Hospital, UK
    Mr Andreas Leonidou - Royal Berkshire Hospital, UK
    And the Reading Shoulder Unit team 

Palm Tree Technique for Proximal Humeral Fractures


Proximal humeral fractures account for 4–5 % of all fractures. Several classification systems exist, the most commonly referred to is the Neer classification, which describes the site of fracture and thenumber of parts involved based displacement.


Undisplaced fractures are usually treated conservatively. Operative treatment is recommended for the displaced fractures, as non-operative management often results mal-union, non-union and stiffness.

Various surgical techniques and implants are available, each with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The main concern in the majority of those cases is the amount of soft tissue dissection involved, increasing the risk of avascular necrosis


The Palm Tree technique was developed as a minimally invasive percutaneous approach for the fixation of 2 and 3 part proximal humeral fractures, using three wires inserted retrograde. This technique was later extended to include 4 part fractures and fracture dislocation.




The patient is positioned in the beach chair position with the arm draped free. The fracture is reduced closed under image intensifier control. This is usually achieved by reducing the humeral shaft onto the rotated humeral head with abduction and external rotation.

Fig1: Closed reduction technique

A stab incision is then made just distal to the deltoid insertion within a 3-4cm window of safety between the axillary and radial nerves.

The instruments needed for this procedure are minimal as seen in the figure below.


Fig 2: Instruments for palm tree fixation

The lateral cortex is approached by blunt dissection and an oblique hole is made in the lateral cortex using a 4.5mm drill.

Three divergent pre-bent 1.8mm wires are introduced through the drill hole across the fracture into the humeral head as follows.


Fig 3: Insertion of Wire

The blunt end of the first wire is bent and a gentle curve is made in the wire. Mounted on a T handle on a Jacob's chuck, the wire is introduced into the medullary cavity via the drill hole and is passed in a retrograde direction towards the humeral head. By introducing the blunt end of the wire there is smooth passage of the wire proximally as it "bounces off" the medial cortex. The direction of the wire is dictated by the rotation of the T handle. The wire is then impacted into the subchondral bone. The second wire is bent in a similar fashion, introduced blunt end first through the same drill hole and is made to diverge from the first by controlling rotation of the T handle. The third wire is introduced sharp end first by sliding it on the two wires in situ. Atight interference fit is achieved at the lateral cortex. This third wire is made to diverge from the other two by controlling rotation of the T handle. The wires are cut and buried but remain fairly superficial.

Fig 3: Fixation completed


With 4-part fractures, the fracture is approached through an antero-superior approach (Neviaser-Mackenzie). The head fragment and the tuberosities are reduced. The tuberosities are reapproximated and held with sutures against the reduced head ('Closing the book') and if there is a significant void, this is filled with bone graft substitute. By this, we transform the 4-part fracture into a '2-part' fracture. The reconstructed proximal fragment is then reduced onto the shaft of the humerus and the pre-bent wires are inserted in the manner described above.


Post-operatively, the patient is immobilised in a sling for three weeks at which point radiographs are taken. If there is any sign of callus formation at this stage, passive mobilisation is begun. If there is not, the patient is immobilised for a further three weeks. The wires are removed under general anaesthetic at six weeks and rehabilitation programme commence.

This method of fixation works on the basis of achieving good angular stability but maintaining axial elasticity. There is no or minimal disruption of the soft tissue envelope.


Three-point fixation is achieved for each of the wires: laterally at the tight-fit entry point in the lateral cortex, medially where the wire "bounces off" the medial cortex, and superiorly where the wire is impacted into the subchondral / subcortical bone.

Stemmed Verso - reverese TSA for fractures