Rotator Cuff Surgery
cuff surgery is a common sports injury surgery. Rotator cuff tears
can occur with
many different sports but are most common with overhead athletes like
pitchers or other throwers.
rotator cuff injuries will be treated conservatively in their early
stages. Surgery is the last resort treatment and requires an extensive
rehabilitation period in order to return to full pain free function.
cuff surgery involves either a repair or debridement of the rotator
cuff tissues. Depending on the extent of the tear, this surgery can be
performed either arthroscopically or as an open procedure.
The most common test to have before surgery is
an MRI. This test gives a good picture as to the extent of the damage
to the rotator cuff. An MRI will show where the tear is located, and
may be able to determine if an arthroscopic or open procedure is
required. However, even MRI's can be misleading and your surgeon will
not know the full extent of the injury until they get inside your
The first part of rotator
cuff surgery is a diagnostic arthroscopy
allows the surgeon to evaluate the rotator cuff and the type of tear
Rotator cuff tears are classified as
either partial or full thickness tears. Partial thickness tears mean
that the "hole" in the rotator cuff does not go all the way through
from the top to the bottom of the tendon. Full thickness tears go all
the way through the tendon.
Using the arthroscope
and a small probe your surgeon can look inside your shoulder and
evaluate the rotator cuff tear.
They can determine
if the tear is a full or partial tear, and how large the tear is. The
smaller the tear, the easier it is to repair. Small tears can be
treated arthroscopically, while larger tears usually require an open
Repairing The Rotator Cuff
The first step in repairing the
rotator cuff is to debride the tissue. This means cleaning up
the torn tissue and removing any damage.
about the rotator cuff tendon like a piece of rope. When there is wear
and tear the rope starts to fray. The frayed areas need to be trimmed
down to good, healthy tissue.
Once the debridement
is complete, the rotator cuff can be sutured back together. Your
surgeon will place small sutures in the rotator cuff to pull the torn
tissues back together.
Depending on where the tear is, they may also
need to use an anchor to reattach the tendon to the bone. Large tears
or tears that have retracted away from the bone may require an open
Once the sutures are placed in the
rotator cuff, they are tied together to pull the tissue back in place
and close the tear in the tendon. Your sutures may be absorbable or
they may be permanent.
After the rotator cuff is
repaired, your surgeon will close your incisions with sutures or
staples, and you will be placed in a sling and sent to recovery.
Following rotator cuff
surgery, you will be in a sling for several weeks. This is very
important to allow for the repaired rotator cuff to heal. The most
important thing to avoid is active motion of your arm and shoulder.
active use of the arm will cause the rotator cuff to contract and this
can place unwanted stress on the repair.
physicians will wait several weeks before having you start rehab. While
this will help to prevent disrupting the repair, I have found that
patients who start rehabilitation early do much better with their rehab
and recovery. I regularly see patients 2-3 days after surgery. We do
not work on active strengthening, but passive range of motion
control help to get their rehabilitation off on the right foot.
to your physician about when you should start rehabilitation. Earlier
is usually better, as long as you follow the post-operative
instructions and avoid active motion.
After rotator cuff surgery, you will be in a sling
for 4-6 weeks. During this time you will not be able to actively use
your arm. You can work on passive range of motion to tolerance under
the direction of your athletic trainer or physical therapist. You can
also work on strengthening of the scapular stabilizers and working to
decrease your pain.
Once you are 4-6 weeks out from
surgery, assisted range of motion exercises and light strengthening
recovery from rotator cuff surgery usually takes 4-6 months for most
people. During this time you will be working on restoring normal
strength, range of motion, and control of your shoulder. For overhead
throwers, full recovery will take longer, as long as 6-12 months
depending on your level of activity.
cuff surgery is effective in treating a torn rotator cuff. This
procedure can be performed arthroscopically or as an open procedure
depending on the extent of the tear and your surgeon's skill. You will
be in a sling for several weeks, and a full recovery will take 4-6
months, longer for overhead athletes. Rehabilitation following surgery
is essential to restore normal shoulder function.
Didn't find what you were looking for? Search SII for more information...
Running Pain Solutions
The key to getting rid of minor aches before they become major pains is a simple, total body prevention program.
Written for Runners by a runner, you'll learn a holistic approach to improving mobility, restoring normal movement and muscle activation patterns, and restoring the body and mind connection.
This Kindle Book contains a step by step program to keep you running pain free. Included are detailed instructions and illustrations for exercises to improve mobility, balance,
neuromuscular control, strength and endurance. Only $7.49!
Get Your Copy Today!