Frequently Asked Questions


Dr Kirkham prides himself in making an accurate diagnosis. This should be where every doctor starts but it takes great experience to be able to cut through the noise and pinpoint the exact problem which the patient is seeking treatment for. This of course can sound very easy but is not necessarily intuitive every time. Some patients get confused by big medical jargon but conversely “accurate language reflects accurate thinking” (one of my favourite sayings).

Everybody has access to google. I wish some did not. Most often this either does not diagnose the problem or does not shed any further light or knowledge on the topic compared to an FRACS trained doctor in Australia. We are trained in the art of diagnosis and then treatment options.

Surgery is always your last resort. Any ethical & well-trained surgeon will know this. Patients do not want surgery if it can be avoided, and Dr Kirkham has made a successful year career out of not being unnecessarily knife-happy. I have never aspired to driving a Porsche or a Ferrari – unlike some people.

Dr Kirkham will present you with options. Dr Kirkham will guide you towards which option he believes is the best one for you as an individual with your circumstances being considered.

If surgery is necessary, then rest assured you are in good hands and Dr Kirkham will do his best to both explain the process to you and to answer all your questions.

If you have further questions that you had forgotten, that’s ok too, you can get in touch.

Dr Kirkham provides contact details for all his operative patients.

In Australia, the Medicare system exists whereby a specialist must have a current GP referral. These days it is tracked online by HIC Canberra so we cannot skip this important step.

New patients must fill out a questionnaire which includes details on:

  • Current problem
  • Past health
  • Current medications – incl doses and frequencies
  • Allergies

(Unless the GP has provided this information to us)

All new patients must consent to our privacy policy which simply allows us to work within the legislation. We do not share your info unnecessarily – if you are concerned, please advise my staff.

There are convenient radiology services at Wahroonga, Bella vista, Rouse Hill, Castle Hill, Mona Vale, Sydney CBD. Please phone us if you need details.

Radiology practices in Australia went digital in 2018-2019. This means they do not offer you hard copy printed image anymore, UNLESS YOU ASK. The default is to give you only digital images, which saves them on costs, but in my opinion is inferior. It certainly wastes time too.


If you ask for it then, by law, they must provide them to you – you have paid for it – if it’s a private radiology practice. (Please note: Public hospitals are different – they just generally refuse)

Dr Kirkham treats all age groups.

If there are special paediatric needs that we cannot cater for we will try to suggest an alternative for you.

Dr Kirkham can give injections in his office that are sub-deltoid or sub-acromial.

The conditions that I can inject in my office include; Shoulder Bursitis, Finger Triggering, Wrist Arthropathy.

Dr Kirkham works with several very experienced and highly reputable anaesthetists.

We can give you their names and contact details if desired.

We can arrange for you to meet them prior to your admission if this is of interest to you.

Most procedures require a general anaesthetic.

Most patients prefer general anaesthetics.

Occasionally a finger procedure is best suited to using only Local anaesthetics, but this is only about 2-5% of cases. Dr Kirkham will advise you which he thinks is best for you in your circumstances.

Anaesthesia today is very safe and well tolerated by most people.

If you’re having a shoulder procedure, then your anaesthetist may also offer you a nerve blockin addition to you GA. Nerve block is performed by your anaesthetist and the anaesthetic nurse typically in the anaesthetic bay just immediately prior to your GA. It is done often with ultrasound guidance which makes it very much safer. A nerve block uses Local anaesthetics to block the nerves and it effectively numbs the shoulder or the limb. (its very similar to an epidural which many are familiar with for childbirth pain relief). This then reduces the pain and lowers the amounts of opiates/pain killers that you might otherwise need. The benefits are less pain, less opiates, less nausea. Your anaesthetist will be able to elaborate on this if you are interested in it.

The time needed is directly related to the type of occupation you have.

Office workers tend to go back within days; whereas manual worker’s tend to need weeks or months to recover enough to return to work.

Dr Kirkham will give an estimate of the time needed off work but please note that this is one of the more difficult items to predict with true accuracy; as patients vary, procedures vary and jobs vary. Dr Kirkham will give his opinion  and its not possible to explain this on a website forum. The advice must be individualised to each patient situation.

There is no need to remove nail polish nail or nail acrylics etc they do not interfere with pulse oximetry readings

If you are having an emergency or if your problem is very urgent then we suggest that you attend your closest emergency dept where they can contact Dr Kirkham as needed. If you need an ambulance, please call 000 in Australia.

In semi-urgent (non-hospitalised) cases, Dr Kirkham typically will fit in semi-urgent cases overnight the next day where possible, we always try to leave space for weekend injuries on Mondays.

If you injure yourself on the weekend, and you need an urgent appointment on Monday morning, please try either


Phone 02 8072 8430 on Monday morning first thing – leave us a message