Why You May Need Rotator Cuff Surgery
The rotator cuff muscles and tendons hold the shoulder in place, making it possible to lift your arm and to reach up. Injury can result from a fall onto your outstretched arm or from repetitive motion, like pitching a ball. You may also experience degeneration and tears as you age.
While you may be able to manage a rotator cuff injury without surgery, they usually don't heal on their own. To diagnose your injury and determine your best treatment option, Franciscan Health rotator cuff surgeons will do a thorough physical exam which may include MRI and X-ray imaging procedures. If you don't need surgery, rotator cuff treatment may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen and aspirin to reduce pain and swelling
- Rest and activity modification to avoid further injury
- Steroid injection to reduce pain and inflammation
- Strengthening exercises
- Physical therapy
Your options for rotator cuff surgery
If nonsurgical treatments don't relieve your symptoms, there are two surgical options:
- Open rotator cuff surgery requires an incision several centimeters long if the tear is large or complex. This allows clear access to the shoulder and rotator cuff tendons.
- Arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery usually results in less pain and faster recovery. The surgeon accesses the shoulder and tendons through small incisions and uses a tiny camera and instruments to make the repairs.
Rotator cuff surgery recovery time will vary depending on your condition – full recovery may take up to six months. You may wear a sling or an immobilizer to prevent arm movement for four to six weeks after surgery. You may also have physical therapy at Franciscan Health to ensure you recover a full range of motion.