Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
An arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is a minimally invasive procedure used to inspect and repair torn tendons in the rotator cuff. Your surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will use a small camera called an arthroscope to view the damaged shoulder muscle. Smaller tears can be repaired by anchoring the damaged tendon to the humerus (arm bone) and allowing the rotator cuff to heal.
Damage to the rotator cuff can occur as a result of wear and tear overtime. While the recovery period may vary, an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is less invasive than a partial or total shoulder replacement.
This procedure is extremely effective at reducing the pain in the shoulder and reestablishing range of motion in a majority of patients.
Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery
The rotator cuff is a group of flexible, tough muscles and tendons in the shoulder that hold the bones of the shoulder together. Damage to the rotator cuff can occur from overuse, muscle injury, or degenerative conditions and causes a loss in range of motion in the shoulder and sever pain. Most tears can be fixed arthroscopically through a minimally invasive procedure, however with the use of the arthroscopic camera, your surgeon will be able to determine if additional surgery is needed.
While there are a variety of methods to repair a damaged rotator cuff, an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is the least invasive. Your surgeon will create three or four tiny incision in the shoulder to insert the arthroscopic camera and small instruments used to help examine the damage. Any loose debris or small bone spurs pinching the tendon will be removed as the surgeon cleans the tendon for reattachment. The top of the humerus is cleared and two small holes are drilled for the anchors. The tear in the tendon is stitched and pulled tightly towards the humerus. The stitches are then attached to the two anchors placed in the top of the humerus. Overtime, the rotator cuff tendons will heal and reattach to the humerus returning the muscle to its former structure.
Recovery and Results of an Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
Immediately following surgery, your arm will be placed in a sling. During the first six weeks, the arm will need to remain immobile to prevent any extension of the arm and shoulder. Assistance will be needed for most normal daily activities to prevent any movement of the newly reconstructed shoulder. Physical therapy will be essential to the healing process and will begin with basic exercises to improve range of motion six to 12 weeks after surgery. Your therapist will create an individualized treatment plan slowly allowing you to begin using your shoulder.
Normal daily activities will be possible during this period as long as you continue to avoid lifting or pushing heavy objects. Strengthening exercises will be introduced three to six months after the procedure. Depending on your progress in physical therapy, a full recovery is possible six to eight months following surgery.