Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Overview
In the majority of cases, surgery to treat rotator cuff tears can be performed arthroscpically using small incisions, a camera, and specialized surgical instruments to perform the procedure. This consists of identifying the torn tendon and reattaching it to its insertion site on the humerus (an area called the rotator cuff footprint). This is typically completed using a combination of strong sutures placed through the tendon and anchors that are secured in the bone to restore the normal anatomy of the tendon. The exact configuration of the tear will dictate the type of repair that is needed. In certain cases a double row repair will be performed to provide compression of the tendon for healing. This consists of two rows of anchors in the bone with sutures in between to secure the rotator cuff tendons back to their original attachment site. In many cases a subacromial decompression and acromioplasty will also be performed, which are procedures to remove bone spurs and inflamed tissue to create space above the rotator cuff repair and relieve impingement.
Recovery Following Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
After surgery patients are placed into a sling and an individualized physical therapy program is started. The specific progression of therapy will depend on the configuration of the tear, type of repair, and the number of tendons involved. Rehabilitation will typically consist of passive range of motion followed by active motion, strengthening, and eventually return to activities. The sling is worn for 6-8 weeks in total. The recovery after rotator cuff surgery is a long and steady process, and following a proper rehabilitation program is of the utmost importance to achieve the best outcome.
For additional resources on rotator cuff injuries, or to learn more about arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery, please contact the Asheville, Arden, Fletcher and surrounding North Carolina communities. orthopedic practice of Dr. Robert Boykin.