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Rotator cuff repair is a common surgery carried out by a shoulder surgeon. The rotator cuff is made up of muscles and tendons that hold your shoulder in place. Your rotator cuff is quite important to your body’s function since it allows you to lift your arm, reach above you and throw things.
Reasons for Rotator Cuff Surgery
Shoulder injuries are common. Athletes and people who do manual labor for a living often experience rotator cuff injuries due to repetitive motions and shoulder overuse. You can also damage your rotator cuff if you experience trauma to your shoulder resulting from a fall or other injury. Or, in older adults, damage can result from the degenerative aging process instead of a specific event. The damage may result from:
- Strains or tears in the rotator cuff
- Inflammation of the shoulder bursa
- Inflammation of the tendons in the shoulder
If you have a rotator cuff injury, you could experience recurrent pain, limited motions in your arm and muscle weakness. To avoid surgery, you may be instructed to:
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications
- Perform strengthening and stretching exercises
- Receive steroid injections
If these treatments don’t work, surgery may be necessary.
What Is Rotator Cuff Repair?
Injured rotator cuffs may need to be repaired surgically. Your surgeon may need to shave off bone spurs that pinch the shoulder and repair torn tendons or muscles around the shoulder joint. Additionally, some patients may require a tendon graft and complete joint replacement.
Your orthopedic specialist may employ arthroscopic surgery, open surgery or a combination of both to correct the problem.
Types of Surgery
Rotator cuff surgery can be performed using an arthroscope, which is a small, tube-shaped instrument that’s inserted into your shoulder joint through a tiny incision. It contains lenses, a tiny video camera and a light that lets your surgeon see the area that needs to be repaired. The arthroscope is usually used with other surgical tools that are inserted through a second incision.
In some cases, an open repair needs to be performed. If the arthroscope can’t be used for whatever reason, a larger incision will be required.
After the procedure, you’ll be sent home with your arm immobilized in a sling. Using ice packs will help reduce post surgical swelling. It’s important to keep the incision clean and dry. Your surgeon will tell you when to return to our Jacksonville orthopedic clinic to have the sutures or staples removed.
More questions about rotator cuff surgery? Schedule a consultation with one of our shoulder specialists who can answer your questions in more detail.