Rotator Cuff Repair
Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery technique that is used to repair a damaged/torn rotator cuff. A few small incisions are made around the joint to allow a camera and various instruments to pass through. These instruments are used to visualize the anatomic structures in the shoulder and to repair the torn rotator cuff tendon. Small holes in the bone are made to release stem cells from the bone to augment the healing.
Why Shoulder Arthroscopy
A shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to repair a rotator cuff. It includes creating 3-4 small incisions (roughly 0.5 inch each) around the shoulder joint. These small portals allow a camera to enter the joint for visualization of anatomic structures, as well as tools to repair any injured structures. To repair the rotator cuff, small plastic or absorbable anchors (about 4-5 mm in size) are inserted into the bone where the rotator cuff used to be attached. These anchors contain sutures that are passed through the rotator cuff tendon and then tied. This allows the tendon to be secured back to its anatomic position. The type of repair and the number of anchors used depends on the size of the tear.
- This surgery is most often performed under general anesthesia with a nerve block, but can be performed with a nerve block and sedation.
- This surgery is usually outpatient, which means the patient will be able to go home the same day.
- Surgery typically lasts 1.5-2 hours.
- Patients are fit for a sling at a preop appointment before surgery and will need to bring this to surgery.
- The sling will be placed on the patient prior to waking up from anesthesia.
- The incisions will be closed with absorbable sutures and covered with dressings that can usually be removed 2-3 days after surgery.
Why Shoulder Arthroscopy for Rotator Cuff Tear
- Decreases shoulder pain that was caused by the tear
- Restores shoulder range of motion and function
- Regain shoulder strength
- Return to work, sport, and activities with confidence
- Failure of conservative treatment including physical therapy
- Tears that occur from a traumatic injury such as a fall
- Tears that are larger than 0.5 inches
- Persistent weakness limiting daily activities
Recovery following a rotator cuff repair depends largely on the size of the cuff tear. Usually, patients will be placed in a sling for 6 weeks after surgery. They are limited to elbow range of motion and pendulum exercises for this period of time. Depending on the size of the tear, physical therapy (PT) will start 2-6 weeks after surgery (most often 2 weeks). Physical therapists follow a protocol that Dr. Faulkner outlined himself to regain your range of motion and strength. Physical therapy and home exercises are a critical part to a patient’s outcomes and quality of life after surgery. The patient should expect to continue to improve with range of motion and strength up to 1 year after surgery, with most of the gains occurring within the first few months after surgery. The patient should plan on being seen in clinic about every 6 weeks for 6 months after the surgery for close monitoring and to ensure any questions are answered.
Hi, I’m Janine and I met Dr. Faulkner after a rotator cuff injury (three tears and a detached bicep muscle). Dr. Faulkner and his staff were incredibly personable and professional. The surgery was 100% successful. The rehab that Dr. Faulkner had me follow resulted in total use and function of my shoulder.
I totally recommend Dr. Faulkner.
Rotator cuff repair and biceps tenodesis
Dr Faulkner is an amazing & professional doctor. I underwent surgery for a torn rotary cup & he clarified specific details so I could comprehend everything. He takes the time to listen to your concerns which leaves you feeling positive with the care you will obtain. He’s very knowledge in the medical treatments confirming his understanding of your current circumstance(s). Due to his surgical abilities, I was able to attend physical therapy for 3 mo instead of 6 mo! Thank you for everything!
shoulder arthroscopy and rotator cuff repair
6 weeks. The sling should be removed at least 3x/day for elbow, wrist, and finger range of motion exercises as will be instructed.
No. Driving with a sling is considered driving impaired and could be subject to a citation.
Yes. Patients are usually unaware of their arm movements at night. The sling helps to ensure that the arm stays in a good position for healing.
Physical therapy typically starts 2 weeks after surgery. This can change, depending on the size of the rotator cuff tear.
2 days after surgery. Once you remove the bandages, you will see 3 sticky white strips covering the wounds. These are called steri-strips and should be left in place until your first postoperative appointment.
The ice machine should be used for about 30 minutes at least 3 times a day until your first postop. You may ice more frequently if desired.
An anesthetic injection performed by the anesthesiologist to turn off pain signals that go to a targeted region.
This will be discussed at your preop appointment. If a narcotic is prescribed, the risks and side effects will be reviewed with you. We encourage you to try and discontinue these by your first postop appointment. Depending on your health history, you may be encouraged to take anti-inflammatories and Tylenol instead of the narcotics.
Different types of anchors are used depending on the age of the patient, but most of the time anchors made up of a special type of plastic called PEEK are used. Suture anchors that resorb over time are used less frequently.
The overall risk of a complication is less than 1%. The most common risk is shoulder stiffness from scarring. Other more rare risks include infection, bleeding, and persistent pain.