ABC’s of Rotator Cuff Surgery

Rotator Cuff Surgery InformationYour rotator cuff is a group of four tendons and muscles located around the shoulder joint at the top of your upper arm bone that connects to the humerus. These different parts of the arm work together to allow this part of your body to move in different directions. The issue with this part of your arm is that it’s very susceptible to overuse injuries and tearing. Many baseball, tennis and football players, along with swimmers sustain rotator cuff injuries.

Typically, a rotator cuff injury may be caused by falling, lifting weights or from overuse. The symptoms for this type of injury include: pain, weakness, snapping noises and swelling. This injury, which often develops gradually over time, can be diagnosed through a physical exam. Your doctor may order some tests in order to rule out other conditions and to confirm a rotator cuff injury.

Louisville orthopedic surgeon Dr. Stacie Grossfeld specializes in treating rotator cuff injuries including rotator cuff surgery. Here is some important information about rotator cuff surgery from Dr. Grossfeld.

Before Rotator Cuff Surgery:

  1. Rotator cuff surgery is performed arthroscopically – small incisions and as an outpatient procedure.
  2. The surgery will repair the torn tendon, (rotator cuff) back down to the humerus bone where it was detached during the injury.
  3. The surgery is accomplished by inserting 3 to 5 small suture anchors into the shoulder bone. The sutures are attached into the anchor.
  4. The sutures are then placed through the torn rotator cuff and it is pulled back down to the bone to securely attach.

After Rotator Cuff Surgery:

  1. A sling is typically worn 3 to 6 weeks after surgery.
  2. PT is started 7 to 10 days after surgery to restore gentle and limited range of motion.
  3. PT is divided up into three, six-week phases. Phase one is gentle passive range of motion with limits given based on type and size of tear and rotator cuff quality. Phase 2 is active assisted and active range of motion. There is typically no limits on the motion arc. Phase three is the strengthening phase.
  4. Most people will be released to return to a labor type job 4 to 5 months after rotator cuff surgery.
  5. However, most people will continue to improve over a year after the surgery with reduction in pain, improvement in range of motion and strength.

If you have shoulder pain and are concerned that you might have a rotator cuff surgery, give Orthopaedic Specialists a call at 502-212-2663.