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Rotator Cuff Repair


What is Rotator cuff repair?

Rotator cuff repair is a surgical procedure performed to treat a torn or damaged rotator cuff in the shoulder. The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles and their tendons that surround the shoulder joint, providing stability and facilitating movement. Injuries to the rotator cuff can occur due to acute trauma, repetitive overhead activities, or degeneration over time.

When conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and medication do not effectively alleviate the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear, surgery may be recommended. Rotator cuff repair aims to reattach the torn tendon to the bone and restore its function. The procedure is typically performed arthroscopically, using small incisions and a camera (arthroscope) to visualize and repair the damaged tissue.

Here's a general outline of the rotator cuff repair procedure:

  1. Anesthesia: The patient is placed under general anesthesia or regional anesthesia to ensure they are comfortable and do not experience pain during the surgery.
  2. Arthroscopic Access: The surgeon makes small incisions around the shoulder joint to insert the arthroscope and specialized surgical instruments.
  3. Inspection: The arthroscope is used to examine the extent of the rotator cuff tear and assess any other related shoulder conditions.
  4. Tendon Repair: If the tear is repairable, the surgeon will reattach the torn tendon to the bone using various techniques, such as sutures, anchors, or other devices. In some cases, if the tendon is severely damaged or retracted, additional procedures may be necessary to facilitate repair.
  5. Closure: Once the repair is complete, the incisions are closed with stitches or surgical tape.

Recovery and Rehabilitation: 

After rotator cuff repair, the patient will need to undergo a rehabilitation program to gradually regain strength, flexibility, and function in the shoulder. The recovery process may involve wearing a sling for a period, gradually starting physical therapy, and following the surgeon's instructions regarding activity restrictions.

The overall recovery timeline can vary based on the extent of the tear, the type of repair, the patient's age, and their commitment to following post-operative instructions. It may take several months for the shoulder to fully heal and for the patient to return to normal activities and sports.

As with any surgery, there are risks associated with rotator cuff repair, such as infection, stiffness, nerve or blood vessel damage, and the possibility of re-tearing the repaired tendon. It's essential to discuss the procedure's potential risks and benefits thoroughly with the orthopedic surgeon before making a decision.

Ask your primary care doctor for a referral to an orthopaedic surgeon, or book an appointment online