History of shoulder surgery in the UK

Shoulder surgery was a Cinderella specialty in the UK in the 1970s. The only common shoulder operations were for recurrent anterior dislocation of the shoulder; the standard operation used was the Putti-Platt operation - probably invented by Putti at the Rizzoli Institute, Bologna, Italy but brought to the UK- by Platt and popularized by Osmond-Clarke (1948) with his article on 'Habitual dislocation of the shoulder. The Putti-Platt operation'.

Very few orthopaedic surgeons in the UK understood many of the shoulder pathologies and the author had his interest in the shoulder stimulated by attending a training course on 'Examination of the musculoskeletal system' run by James Cyriax of St Thomas's Hospital, London in 1977. Following this a research project on shoulder movement was carried out in Nottingham as a result of a Medical Research Council Training Research Fellowship and this has led to a lifetime interest in the shoulder and more recently in the elbow.

- from Joint Replacement in the Shoulder & Elbow, WA Wallace

History of the British Shoulder and Elbow Society (BESS)

The British Elbow and Shoulder Society was founded as a result of an increasing interest in shoulder and elbow surgery in the UK in the early 1980s, and particularly after a very successful Third ICSS meeting in Japan. The stimulus came from Michael Watson, who wrote the following letter on 3 November 1986;

'I think the time has come to take the bull by the horns and seriously consider the nuts and bolts of setting up a British Shoulder Surgery Association. I am sure that we are going to start to get enquiries for our corporate stance on technical and administration.'

As a result of that letter the founding members of BESS: lan Bayley; Michael Watson; Steve Copeland; and Angus Wallace met on 28 March 1987 at 92 Harley Street in London and set up the Society. Since this date the meetings of BESS have been held annually.