Rotator Cuff Repair

Rotator Cuff Repair Overview

A rotator cuff repair is a minimally invasive procedure that treats a partially or completely torn rotator cuff. Board-Certified and Fellowship-Trained Carolina Orthopaedic and Neurosurgical Associates’ (CONA) shoulder specialists are rotator cuff repair experts. Patients who experience rotator cuff tear symptoms are encouraged to make an appointment to receive an official diagnosis and find out if a rotator cuff repair is an appropriate treatment option.

How is a rotator cuff repair performed?

Outpatient rotator cuff repair is performed under general anesthesia. After the patient is completely asleep, a CONA specialist:

  1. Begins surgery. An arthroscopic camera is carefully inserted into the shoulder joint. The joint is viewed on a nearby television monitor.
  2. Repairs the tear. Suture anchors repair the tear and attach the rotator cuff to the bone.
  3. Finishes surgery. Absorbable sutures close tissue layers. Removeable sutures close the skin. A sterile dressing is placed over the surgical site and a comfortable sling is placed on the arm.

Total procedure time is 60-90 minutes. The patient returns home shortly after their procedure.

What conditions can rotator cuff repair treat?

A complete rotator cuff tear is a serious injury that does not heal on its own. Torn rotator cuff patients find it hard or impossible to perform many day-to-day movements that involve raising the arm and rotating the shoulder. A rotator cuff repair treats the tear and associated symptoms. Strength and flexibility are regained during physical therapy sessions.

What are rotator cuff repair advantages?

A rotator cuff repair is a minimally invasive procedure. The large shoulder muscles are not cut, which means:

  • Less surgical trauma occurs
  • Less postoperative pain is experienced
  • Recovery is quicker
  • Physical therapy response is better

What is rotator cuff repair recovery like?

Patients recover in the comfort of their own home for about two weeks. Stitches are taken out at the first postoperative appointment and physical therapy is started and continues throughout recovery. A CONA specialist then sees patients 1 month, 3 months, and 6 months after surgery. Total recovery time is usually about 6-8 months.

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