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Surgery may be used to treat a torn rotator cuff if the injury is very severe or if non-surgical treatment has failed to improve shoulder strength and movement sufficiently.
Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff tendon usually involves:
Arthroscopic surgery is the most common way that this surgery is done. But in some cases, the surgeon needs to do open-shoulder surgery, which requires a larger incision.
Discomfort after surgery may decrease with taking pain medicines prescribed by your doctor.
Your arm will be protected in a sling for a defined period of time.
Physiotherapy after surgery is crucial to a successful recovery. A rehabilitation program may include the following:
Surgery to repair a rotator cuff is done when:
Rotator cuff repair surgery for a tear from a sudden injury works best if it is done within a few weeks of the injury.footnote 1 But repairs of very large tears are not always successful.
Rotator cuff surgery to repair frayed or thinned tendon tissue is less likely to work than surgery to repair an injury to a healthy tendon.
In addition to the risks of surgery in general, such as blood loss or problems related to anesthesia, complications of rotator cuff surgery may include:
CitationsAmerican Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and American Academy of Pediatrics (2010). Rotator cuff tears. In JF Sarwark, ed., Essentials of Musculoskeletal Care, 4th ed., pp. 311–316. Rosemont, IL: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
Current as of: March 2, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Timothy Bhattacharyya MD - Orthopaedic Surgery, Orthopaedic Trauma & Kenneth J. Koval MD - Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Trauma
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