Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
The rotator cuff is made up of 4 tendons around the shoulder that are responsible for stabilizing and moving the shoulder. These tendons are vulnerable to both injury and the aging process where the tendons can be torn, inflamed or wear out and tear. This can often lead to the diagnosis or rotator cuff tear or tendonitis.
Include pain both at night and with usage, weakness and difficulty performing normal everyday activities. One or all of these symptoms bring patients in the to the doctor for treatment.
Options for rotator cuff issues include high dose anti-inflammatory medicine, Physical Therapy and cortisone shots. When conservative options fail surgery may be an option if the symptoms persist or they cause enough pain or disturbance of lifestyle.
Options for rotator cuff problems include shaving of bone and removing of ligaments to make more room for the inflamed rotator cuff for rotator cuff tendonitis to arthroscopic and open repair of the torn rotator cuff.
Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is a surgically less invasive surgical procedure to repair the rotator cuff, one of the most common problems affecting the shoulder. It is done through small skin incisions called portals using a camera. It is typically done as an outpatient procedure under a general anesthesia and can be done at an outpatient surgery center or the hospital. The procedure can take anywhere from 1-2 hours usually means stiches are placed within the torn tendon or the tendon is stitched back to the bone using artificial anchors or screws. Antibiotics are given around the time of the procedure to prevent infection and often times a nerve block is given by the anesthesiologist prior to the procedure to help with pain control after the operation.
Once the procedure is completed patients will use a special sling most of the time for about 6 weeks. Pain is usually controlled with narcotic pills over the counter anti-inflammatories and nerve blocks. Sleeping in a semi-upright position like a lounge chair is helpful for the first few weeks post operatively. Ice packs or cold therapy units are a must to decrease swelling and reduce pain post operatively. Physical Therapy is an important part of the postoperative care. P.T. usually progresses from the therapist moving the shoulder to the patient moving the shoulder to strengthening exercises over a 3-6 month period. It typically takes up to 6 months to make a complete recovery from rotator cuff repair surgery. Most patients get excellent pain relief and regain functionality from the procedure.