A rotator cuff surgery is used to re-attach the tendons at the head of the humerus. If it is discovered that these tendons just need to be smoothed or trimmed, then there may only be a partial tear present. In this case the thickest area of the tendon can simply be sewn back together. A mini rotator cuff surgery can be performed as a means of making these repairs without subjecting the patient to the long recovery process, risk of infection and other hazards associated with the full incision necessary during an open rotator cuff surgery.
Specific Instances where Rotator Cuff Surgery is Necessary
If the rotator cuff has been torn and nonsurgical methods to not improve the pain it may be necessary to undergo rotator cuff surgery with a Los Angeles shoulder surgeon. Those that are very active, playing sports or performing activities that involve lifting the arm up over your head may also require surgery if they are likely to continue aggravating the area. Those that have significant weakness in the affected shoulder, have a rotator cuff tear longer than 3cm, a tear caused by an acute injury or have had pain and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury that have lasted 6-12 months are recommended to seek out rotator cuff surgery.
Open vs. Mini Repairs
A traditional open rotator cuff repair involves making an incision which is several centimeters long to address a large or complex tear in the rotator cuff. The shoulder muscle will be detached from the shoulder to allow for access to the damaged tendon. Any bone spurs in this area will be removed during surgery to minimize the risk of discomfort in the future. While this was once considered the primary means of repairing a rotator cuff, improvements in surgical procedures and tools have made way for less invasive surgical options.
Mini open repairs use smaller instruments and new technology to repair a damaged rotator tendon through a small incision. Incisions in this case are typically between 3-5cm long, which is used to place a camera in the shoulder so the surgeon can perform the surgery via video monitor. Mini open repairs can be used to access the damage to the rotator cuff and to remove bone spurs in the area. Mini open repairs are considered ideal because there is a shorter recovery time due to the smaller incision and the deltoid muscle does not need to be detached during surgery.
Indications and Rehabilitation
Because a mini rotator cuff surgery is less invasive and promises a shorter recovery time, patients can begin physical therapy sooner after the surgery is completed. This helps to establish movement in the shoulder sooner to minimize the risk that the area will be damaged again or the patient will suffer from stiffness in the joint. Those that only suffered a minor tear can participate in an accelerated therapy program, exposing themselves to increased movement and exercise sooner in therapy. All patients after any type of rotator cuff surgery should make the effort to avoid stress and excess mobility until they are cleared from rehabilitation.