What is the rotator cuff?
The rotator cuff is a common name for a group of four muscles and their tendons that helps to keep your arm in the shoulder socket. The muscles that form the cuff are vital for proper functioning of the shoulder. They help increase the range of motion and provide stability to this critical joint in your body.
What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?
A rotator cuff tear happens because of acute injury or chronic degenerative changes over time due to the aging process. The most common symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:
- Pain during rest and at night
- Pain while lifting and lowering the arm
- Weakness in carrying out routine activities
- Crackling sensations during movement
Do all rotator cuff tears require surgery?
The treatment options for a rotator cuff injury cannot be generalized for each patient. Your doctor at Star Orthopedics and Sports Medicine will plan the best treatment for you, depending on your activity level, age, general health, and the type of tear you have.
Your doctor recommends surgery if you aren’t responding to conservative treatment and continue experiencing pain and limited range of motion. Other signs that point to surgery are:
- Symptoms have been present for 6-12 months
- Recent, acute traumatic tear
- A tear of three centimeters or more in the cuff
- Weakness and loss of function in your shoulder
What are the different surgical options available?
The three most commonly used surgical techniques are open repair, mini-open repair, and doctors at Star Orthopedics and Sports Medicine prefer to use the less-invasive arthroscopic repair whenever possible.
Your surgeon inserts a small tube called an arthroscope inside the joint through a small incision. A tiny camera enables the doctor to have a detailed, magnified view of the joint. He then repairs the tendon with the help of other surgical tools. Sometimes, a graft is placed to help the torn ligament unite properly.
What can I expect after the surgery?
Your doctor provides you with complete post-op instructions after the surgery. Initially, he prescribes pain medication and the arm is put in a sling so that the tendon heals effectively.
Once it is safe to move the arm, you partake in physical therapy sessions to gain back your strength and flexibility.
To learn more about the various treatment options for a rotator cuff repair, call or click to book an appointment at Star Orthopedics and Sports Medicine.