If a patient’s pain has not improved with nonsurgical methods, a Los Angeles orthopedic surgeon may recommend surgical intervention by way of a rotator cuff repair. A partial tear may require a simpler procedure called debridement, which is trimming or smoothing. When the tear is complete in the thickest part of the tendon, a repair may require stitching the two sides together.
What factors show arthroscopic rotator cuff repair may be needed?
Several factors can come into play when deciding upon surgery. The main factor in getting surgery for a torn rotator cuff is chronic pain symptoms not being alleviated through traditional means. Active athletes that participate in sports with heavy arm use, or workers that reach overhead in a continuous motion frequently, may also benefit from surgery.
Other prerequisites for surgery include factors such as:
- the patient has significant weakness or loss of function in their shoulder
- a patient suffered a substantial tear that is larger than 3 cm
- a patient’s symptoms have lasted over six months, and up to 12 months
- the patient underwent a recent, acute injury
- previously failed surgery or unsuccessful results
There are three main techniques used for rotator cuff repair: traditional open repair, Arthroscopic repair, and mini-open repair.
During an arthroscopic procedure, the top orthopedic doctor in Los Angeles inserts a small camera (arthroscope) into the joint of the shoulder. The surgeon uses the images displayed from the camera onto television screen to expertly identify and guide fine surgical instruments to the area needing repair.
Rather than a large incision, which would be the traditional surgery performed (open surgery), a series of small incisions are made. Small incisions make repairing the rotator cuff arthroscopically a less invasive procedure. An all arthroscopic repair is the least invasive method and can before performed as an outpatient procedure.
Are there any major differences between arthroscopic and open rotator cuff repair?
The same surgery is performed although the incision site looks quite a bit different. The same tissues will be repaired and the same postoperative precautions will be needed regarding tissue healing time for the repaired muscle and tendons.
The arthroscopic procedure leaves a patient with less postoperative pain and a decreased recovery time.
Will I still need a sling after an arthroscopically repaired rotator cuff?
A Sling will still be required at all times (from 4 to 6 weeks) depending on the severity of the tear, and the extent of the repair. A foam cushion replaced between the patient’s arm in the patient’s body while wearing the sling. The elbow should be kept at a right angle, but the patient and level with their elbow or slightly higher. A sling should only be removed as prescribed, or icing, dressing, or showering by the patient.
Are there any precautions after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair?
The patient should not actively move their arm away from their body or with any objects (even if just bending at the elbow). The patient should not reach behind their back or rotate the forearm away from the body. Only a patient’s wrist or hand should be used for daily activities such as eating, dressing, or shaving as long as their pain is not increased.