Conversations with… Tony Kochhar, The Shoulder Doctor

By Paola Bassanese


Q: Why did you decide to specialise in shoulder surgery?

A: I have been fortunate to be taught by the best surgeon in France, Laurent Lafosse who took me under his wing. I spent a year working for him as an apprentice after training at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London. I found the work very rewarding; I decided to specialise in shoulder problems by chance but I did injure my shoulder 8-9 years before and completely recovered and I wanted to gain more personal insight. I practised martial arts and did a lot of weight training.

Q: What has been the highlight of your career so far?

A: Well, things have been betting busier and busier but hopefully I haven’t peaked yet! I would say thought that I was very pleased with the feedback I received from my RSI article in the Evening Standard. The article was reprinted in Saudi Arabia and a Saudi industrialist came to see me in London to discuss his problems and he then decided to set up a wellness programme for his company after his visit to the UK.

Q: Do you manage to have a good work/life balance and do you have time for exercise and massage?

A: I wish I had more time! I work long hours, my wife works full time and we have two kids. I dedicate my spare time at the weekend to my family. However I do manage to train two or three times a week. I do core training outdoors, for example British Military Fitness Training, but it’s easier to do my own workout in my back garden. I wake up at 6am and train for one hour before work. I built an outdoor gym in my garden and I train with a rope and weights. Also now it’s so easy to learn to do your own workout as there’s so many youtube videos teaching you how to exercise safely.

With regards to massage, I only have one when I go on holiday but I am conscious I need to have it more regularly.

Q: What made you decide to open a clinic in Harley Street?

A: I started my Harley Street clinic recently and it is going really well.

My main clinic is at the London Bridge Hospital which is easily accessible from the City. However, patients from the West End, North and West London wanted to be able to see me near Central London and Harley Street is a convenient location. I am based at number 9 at the St Princess Grace Hospital.

The decision was purely based on the needs on the patients: they asked me to be available more centrally in London as people are busy and don’t have time to travel far to see a specialist.

Q: If someone is suffering from shoulder pain, frozen shoulder or repetitive strain injuries, what would you advise to do?

A: The role of a surgeon is to diagnose and explain a condition to the patient and provide viable options. The process consists of three phases:

  1. assessment of the patient’s symptoms in the context of their work, activities, posture; you need to listen to the patient and what their work commitments and preferences are. Sometimes busy people working internationally may not find the time to see a physiotherapist for six months and surgery may be the most feasible option for their situation.
  2. investigation and review, explaining the action plan to the patient
  3. specialised treatment including injections, therapy (physiotherapy, massage) or surgery


80% of patients don’t need surgery but specialised treatment. Massage and stretching are an absolute must. For example most office workers with a sedentary lifestyle need to learn to stretch regularly, exercise and take breaks. They mostly suffer from neck, shoulders and back pain. I currently see 50 new patients each month with this problem.

For frozen shoulder the key priority is to get the pain down to allow a therapist to work on the shoulder using deep tissue massage and myofascial release.

The most rewarding aspect of my job is when a patient says “I am better”.

About Doctor Kochhar

Tony Kochhar is a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, specialising in the treatment of RSI’s. He is an expert in the treatment and surgery of the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand. His practice is based at in Central London and Kent.

Mr Kochhar’s philosophy is that your condition may need treatment from several fields – it’s not just about surgery. In fact, most patients don’t need surgery. They do however need an accurate assessment by a highly skilled specialist and early and skilful therapy. If however, you do need surgery, Mr Kochhar is an expert in this field, with excellent outcomes and patient care.