Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery Time for Arthroscopic vs. Open Surgery

Doctor talking to a patient

You have a few different options when it comes to treating a torn rotator cuff. First, doctors will consider conservative treatment methods. If a rotator cuff tear is minor and if the rest of your shoulder is in good condition, your treatment may need no more than some medication, rest, and physical therapy. However, if your tear is more serious, you may need surgical intervention.

Surgeons have two main options when it comes to operating on a torn rotator cuff. These are arthroscopic surgery and open surgery.

What is the difference between arthroscopic surgery and open surgery?

The primary objective of both types of rotator cuff surgery is to reattach torn tendons to the bones in your shoulder joint. The approach they take to achieve this goal is quite different.

In arthroscopic surgery, the surgeon uses small surgical instruments and a tiny camera attached to a thin tube. The camera fits through a tiny incision in the shoulder and provides the surgeon with a view of the operation area. The small surgical instruments are inserted through another small incision, and the surgeon guides them with the use of the camera.

This procedure is preferable for those who are good candidates for it because it is less invasive, which means it has fewer risks for complications.

The other major type of rotator cuff surgery is open surgery. With open surgery, the surgeons make an incision through the muscles in the shoulder to obtain a direct view of your shoulder. This procedure may be necessary when the rotator cuff tear is too severe for tiny surgical instruments to fix.

How long it takes to recover from arthroscopic surgery and open surgery

While both surgeries are capable of treating rotator cuff tears, one of the key differences afterward will be the quality of recovery. Full recovery from rotator cuff surgery can take four to six months. However, if you have arthroscopic surgery, the recovery time may be shorter and less painful because fewer muscles were cut during the operation. If you had open surgery, your recovery may be longer and less comfortable at the beginning.

Visit the iRISE Spine and Joint Institute for rotator cuff surgery

Surgery is one of the most efficient ways to repair a damaged rotator cuff and help you regain the use of your arm. Our orthopedic surgeons at the Florida Spine and Joint Institute are here to help you if you’re suffering from a torn rotator cuff. Contact us today to talk to our team about rotator cuff surgery or to schedule an initial appointment.