Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair
The Rotator Cuff is a muscle that surrounds the shoulder joint; its main job is to provide support to the joint so that it can lift and rotate the arm. The Rotator Cuff wears down with age and becomes vulnerable to injury. In old age, it can be easily injured with minimal trauma. In young patients, Rotator Cuff is usually injured by severe trauma.
Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that repairs the Rotator Cuff with the help of an arthroscope (a camera) that transmits images from inside the joint. It is recommended after conservative treatment options fail to relieve shoulder pain and other symptoms.
Who Needs the Surgery?
Patients who have been diagnosed with a torn Rotator Cuff and are unresponsive towards conservative treatments are eligible for Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair. The patient may have suffered Rotator Cuff injuries from trauma or natural causes.
Patients may experience severe pain in their arm and pain between/in shoulder blades, limited mobility of arm, limited range of motion, and discomfort at night.
Conservative treatment options for Rotator Cuff tears include pain management through medication, exercise, and physical therapy.
How is it Performed?
Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Surgery is a proven procedure with established protocols. A patient can expect the following from the surgery:
- The patient is prepped for surgery, and local anesthesia is administered.
- The surgeon inserts the arthroscope through small incisions in the shoulder joint. The arthroscope transmits images to a video monitor or television screen.
- The joint is debrided as the surgeon removes any loose fragments or debris from the rotator cuff tendons
- The surgeon performs subacromial decompression if bone spurs have formed under the acromion.
- The surgeon inspects the Rotator Cuff through the images sent by the arthroscope. If the tears are small, they are repaired arthroscopically. Large tears may need open surgery.
- The torn part of the tendon and a section of the Humerus are cleaned.
- Anchors are inserted through separate incisions. The anchors hold the stitches.
- The torn tendon is stitched to the Humerus.
- Instruments are retracted, and incisions are closed with sutures or Steri-Strips.
- The patient is discharged a few hours after the surgery.
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What Is the Average Recovery Time for Rotator Cuff Surgery?
- The average frame of time required for recovery after a Rotator Cuff Surgery is four to six weeks.
- Full recovery may take up to a year.
- Rotator Cuff, after a successful repair, is still susceptible to re-injury for the following twelve months.
How Many Weeks of Physical Therapy Do You Need for Rotator Cuff Surgery?
- Recovery after a rotator cuff surgery usually involves the immobilization of the shoulder by a sling for up to ten days.
- Physical therapy sessions are divided in:
- Passive and assisted physical therapy sessions go on for the following six weeks.
- Active movement physical therapy sessions for the next six months.
What Can I Expect After Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?
- You can expect a quick recovery because, unlike open surgery, arthroscopic surgery only requires a small incision.
- However, you may expect a full recovery in several months.
- Some pain and discomfort the following several weeks after the surgery are normal.