What does Rotator Cuff Surgery treat?
Rotator cuff shoulder surgery treats shoulder pain and weakness that typically results from a major injury or a number of injuries. The rotator cuff is the group of tendons and muscles that helps keep the upper arm bone in place in the shoulder socket so the arms can be raised and rotated. A rotator cuff tear can also result from overuse of the shoulder, such as from repeated overhead working, or as a consequence of another shoulder injury. When the rotator cuff is torn, the patient experiences shoulder pain and weakness that can affect daily activities and participation in sports and fitness activities. Pain and instability usually happen when the arm is raised but can spread to other motions if left untreated.
Without rotator cuff repair surgery, the shoulder may not heal properly, even after physiotherapy. This can lead to further shoulder pain and weakness and injuries, as well as affecting work and other activities.
Rotator cuff surgery is most commonly recommended in cases where:
- X-rays or other scans show damage to the shoulder that will worsen without surgery.
- The patient has difficulty, and/or feels pain, when putting their arm in the air, throwing, or performing similar actions involving the shoulder that highlight shoulder instability.
- Symptoms have lasted more than 6 months and have not responded to physiotherapy.
Rotator Cuff Surgery results
Arthroscopic rotator cuff shoulder surgery can eliminate shoulder aches and pain and restore function and stability to the shoulder in patients. It also helps to reduce the risk of further shoulder damage due to shoulder instability and weakness and improves patients’ ability to more comfortably take part in daily activities and sports.
What to expect with Rotator Cuff Surgery
Rotator cuff repair surgery requires general anesthesia. This means the patient is unconscious for the duration of the procedure.
The surgeon first makes small incisions in the front, middle and, rear of the shoulder, as well as in the upper arm. These are large enough for small instruments, including an arthroscope (tiny camera) to guide the surgeon, to be inserted to perform the surgery.
The surgeon then uses sutures (rows of stitches that hold parts of the body together after surgery) to tie the two sides of the torn rotator cuff tendon back together. More sutures fix the tied-together tendon to the shoulder bone. These sutures are held in place by anchors in the bone. Both sutures and anchors eventually dissolve as the area heals.