Your shoulders are crucial to your ability to move normally.
When you suffer an injury like a rotator tear, you need to have it repaired to escape limited movement and pain. Rotator cuff repair surgery allows your shoulder to heal from injuries like tears. You can prepare to undergo rotator cuff repair surgery by learning what this operation is and how it is performed on patients today.
What is Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery?
Rotator cuff repair surgery is an operation that repairs tears inside of the rotator cuff in the shoulder. It is performed most often as an outpatient procedure in a hospital or single day surgical center. Patients are typically put under general anesthesia prior to the start of the operation.
During the surgery, the doctor reattaches the tendons in the rotator cuff to the head of the humerus or top of the arm bone. He or she uses stitches to keep the tendons in place.
The type of rotator cuff surgery you undergo will depend on the length and severity of the tears. Extensive tears are repaired in what is called an open surgery. Minor tears less than three to five centimeters long are repaired in a surgery called arthroscopy. During arthroscopy, the surgeon may also perform a procedure called a debridement. A debridement involves the trimming or smoothing of tendons in the rotator cuff.
Regardless of the type of rotator cuff surgery you undergo, you should be able to go home to recuperate the same day. You should not have to stay overnight in the hospital unless you show signs of complications like allergic reactions to anesthesia or unusual pain or bleeding.
How is Rotator Cuff Surgery Performed?
Rotator cuff surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Once you are asleep, the surgeon will make an incision in your shoulder. The length of the incision will depend on whether or not you are going through open rotator cuff surgery or arthroscopic surgery.
For open surgery, the incision will be relatively long and deep to allow the surgeon access to the muscle in the rotator cuff. Arthroscopic surgery calls for a smaller incision through which to insert the arthroscope and surgical instruments that will make the repairs.
After the rotator cuff is repaired, you will be taken to a recovery room. You should be allowed to go home within a couple hours after your surgery is finished.
Rotator Cuff Repair Recovery
The total recovery period for rotator cuff surgery is four to six months. During that time, you will be advised to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous activities like lifting items above your head. You also may not be allowed to drive until your shoulder is fully healed.
You should wear your shoulder sling and keep your arm elevated while resting for six to eight weeks after the surgery is done. You also will be advised to use prescribed or over-the-counter pain relievers to minimize pain and swelling.