Shoulder Specialties Rotator Cuff Debridement/Repair

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Rotator Cuff Debridement/Repair Overview

The rotator cuff is a set of four tendons that attach from the shoulder blade to the humerus bone. These tendons help to center the ball on the socket and assist in elevation and rotation of the shoulder and arm. When the rotator cuff is damaged or torn, patients may have symptoms of painful dysfunction and/or weakness. Arthroscopic rotator cuff debridement/repair is a surgical technique that can reduce pain and improve shoulder function.

Why Rotator Cuff Debridement/Repair

The goal of surgery is to restore the properties of the damaged rotator cuff to reduce pain and to improve shoulder range of motion, strength, and function. Arthroscopic debridement is performed for patients with symptomatic low grade partial tears of the rotator cuff. High grade partial or full thickness tears are treated with arthroscopic repair in most cases.

Who Should Have Rotator Cuff Debridement/Repair

Patients with painful dysfunction and weakness attributed to the rotator cuff may be candidates for surgery. In general, conservative measures including physical therapy, medications, and/or injections are attempted before surgery is indicated. Rare traumatic rotator cuff tears in younger patients may require early surgical repair. Common signs/symptoms of rotator cuff disease include difficulty raising the arm, gripping/pulling, placing the arm overhead or behind their back. Patients may experience weakness in the shoulder lifting above the horizontal and/or symptoms preventing sleep.

Rotator cuff tears often have overlapping symptoms with pathology relating to the SLAP/Biceps complex and the AC joint. Patients may also have concomitant shoulder arthritis. Arthroscopic treatments can address these other pain generators at the time of rotator cuff debridement/repair. Occasionally, the rotator cuff is too badly damaged and alternative strategies (i.e. SCR, tendon transfer, reverse shoulder replacement) may be required.

What Can I Expect From Rotator Cuff Debridement/Repair?

Arthroscopic rotator cuff debridement/repair is an outpatient procedures that takes approximately 1-1.5 hour to perform. Patients have an initial period of protection in a sling that can vary from a few weeks to 6 weeks depending on extent of damage and type of repair. Post-operative rehabilitation is performed 2-3X/week for several months. Return to work/sport is INDIVIDUALIZED and is based on minimum time from surgery (2-6months) and, more importantly, functional progression with rehabilitation. Often patients continue to improve from 6 months to 2 years following rotator cuff repair.

Additional Rotator Cuff Debridement/Repair Videos

Rotator Cuff Tear

Bursitis of the Shoulder (Subacromial Bursitis)

Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder (Degenerative Calcification)

Calcific Tendinitis of the Shoulder (Reactive Calcification)

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