Is Orthopedic Surgery Right for a Torn Rotator Cuff?


The rotator cuff is a collection of tendons and muscles around the shoulder that holds the joint together and provides motion for your arm. When an injury causes one of these muscles or tendons to tear, the use of your arm is very limited.

People with rotator cuff tears can receive professional health care treatment to reduce pain and regain the use of the arm. Some people can get by with conservative methods like physical therapy. Others may need orthopedic surgery.

When do you need orthopedic rotator cuff surgery?

Your doctor will examine the condition of your shoulder to form a diagnosis and treatment plan. A thorough diagnosis usually includes a review of your symptoms, medical history, age, and activities.

Your doctor may recommend orthopedic surgery if:

  • You’ve had pain in the shoulder for more than six months.
  • You haven’t had full use of your shoulder for more than six months.
  • Your shoulder feels weak or loose.
  • The tear is larger than 3 centimeters.
  • The tear is the result of a traumatic injury, such as an automobile accident.

Are there different types of orthopedic rotator cuff surgeries?

Orthopedic surgeons are skilled in multiple types of surgeries for the muscles, bones, joints, and soft tissue in your body. They have a few different options for repairing rotator cuff tears, including:

  • Arthroscopic surgery — Arthroscopic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery that uses tiny surgical instruments and a thin tube with a camera at the end. The surgeons only need to make a tiny incision to fit in the camera and the surgical instruments.

    This kind of surgery is usually used to repair minor rotator cuff tears.
  • Open surgery — If the tear is complicated or large, the surgeon may need to perform open surgery. Instead of using an arthroscopic camera, the surgeon will make a larger incision to gain full access to the shoulder.

    This is an effective method for repairing multiple tears or partial and total joint replacement.
  • Partially open surgery — Some tears may not require a full open visual, but they are too complex for tiny surgical instruments to repair. In these cases, the surgeon will make an incision no bigger than a few centimeters to make room for the arthroscopic camera and surgical instruments that are more suited for the necessary repairs.

Visit iRISE Spine and Joint for orthopedic rotator cuff surgery

If your shoulder has recently been injured or you have been suffering from long-lasting pain, you may need rotator cuff repair surgery. Our team would be glad to assess the condition of your shoulder and determine if one of our orthopedic procedures is right for you. Contact us today to talk to one of our patient care coordinators about orthopedic surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.