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Rotator Cuff Repair

Rotator Cuff Repair

If you’re experiencing stiffness, loss of range of motion or pain in your upper shoulder, it may be time to schedule an appointment with an orthopedic physician; you may have a torn rotator cuff.

Typically the patient will experience discomfort in the shoulder and lifting the arm will become increasingly difficult. The ache associated with a torn rotator cuff will extend from the shoulder down to the elbow and sometimes cause neck pain and headaches. X-ray scans are necessary to rule out other issues like arthritis or fractures, and an MRI scan may be recommended because it will show the tissue of the rotator cuff itself. Surgery may be recommended if the tear is extensive.

Surgically, there are a few options depending on the severity of the tear. If the rotator cuff is only partially torn, your orthopedic surgeon may opt to trim or smooth the tendon. However, if the tendon is completely detached, the surgeon can reattach it to bone or stitch the two sides back together. There two surgical procedures used for rotator cuff repair: open and arthroscopic.

Open repair is the traditional method that is used now primarily when the tear is severe. Otherwise, the arthroscopic method, in which an incision is made and small surgical tools are used to repair the tendon, is used for tears that are less critical. This minimally invasive technique is often preferable because it allows for a quicker recovery rate and less risk of post-surgery infection. 

Rehabilitation is very important for the rotator cuff to heal. However, the rehabilitation and recovery procedure varies from person to person and depends on a number of factors including age, health, and activity level. Typically the shoulder will be immobilized and in a sling for the first few weeks. Afterward, physical therapy can be utilized to strengthen the arm for four to 12 weeks. If rehab is successful, you can expect normal function to return in four to six months. To gain the maximum positive effects of rehabilitation, it’s important to discuss and follow the plan outlined by your doctor.

The Longstreet Clinic employs many board-certified orthopedic physicians, as well as nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants who are qualified to assess your shoulder pain. If you suspect that you’ve torn or injured your rotator cuff, please contact The Longstreet Clinic at (678) 207- 4500  for professional evaluation and diagnosis. 

Request an Appointment with an OrthoTLC Physician Today!