MeetDr Rewat LaxmanD'Orth, DNB Orthopaedics

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair of Shoulder

arthroscopic rotator cuff repair of shoulder bone and joint consult

What is Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair of Shoulder?

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair is a minimally invasive surgical procedure done to treat a torn or ruptured rotator cuff in the shoulder. The rotator cuff consists of a group of muscles and tendons that surround and support the shoulder joint. They allow you to lift and rotate your arm. The surgery is performed through button-hole incisions using a narrow instrument called an arthroscope, which allows visualisation of the inside of the joint and repair of injury with minimal damage to the surrounding healthy tissues.

What is the aim of Rotator Cuff Repair of Shoulder?

The aim of the surgery is to restore lost mobility and function of the shoulder and minimize the risk of shoulder dislocations.

What happens if a Rotator Cuff injury is left Untreated?

The patient will be at risk for loss of shoulder mobility and deterioration of the shoulder joint. This will negatively impact your ability to participate in sports and other physical activities.

Preparing for Rotator Cuff Repair of the Shoulder

  • You must inform your doctor about your current health condition, medications, and allergies.
  • You may have to undergo a physical exam and laboratory tests to ensure there are no contraindications for the surgery.
  • You must avoid smoking or drinking as these activities slow down the healing of tissue after surgery.
  • You may be asked to avoid eating or drinking anything 8 to 12 hour before the surgery.

What happens during the Rotator Cuff Repair of the Shoulder?

The surgery will usually be done under general and local anaesthesia so you will be asleep during the procedure. About three to four keyhole incisions will be made around the shoulder through which fluid will be passed to inflate the joint to allow for inserting of the arthroscope and other surgical instruments. The frayed tissue and bone chips will be removed. The torn portion of the rotator cuff will be attached to the humerus bone of the upper arm with suture anchors. Depending on the severity of the tear, a double row of suture anchors may be used ensuring the tendon is firmly attached to a larger area of the bone. The incisions are then closed with sutures and the arm is placed in a sling. The procedure may be completed in 1 hour.

Recovering after Rotator Cuff Repair of the Shoulder

Postsurgical recovery after rotator cuff repair is much easier than open shoulder surgery. You may need about 2 hours to recover from the effects of the anaesthesia. There may be some discomfort or pain in the shoulder for which you will be prescribed medications. Specific instructions about how to maintain the sling when performing routine activities will be provided. Most patients may need to remain in the sling for 3 weeks. You will be advised about follow-up appointments to assess your healing and to help you transition to non-restricted activity.

Risks of Rotator Cuff Repair of the Shoulder

Most patients do not have any complications from the procedure.


How does it feel to have a torn rotator cuff?

Common symptoms are:

  • Painful arm on loading
  • Difficulty to perform overhead activity
  • Weakness in raising the arm away from body
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Disturbed shoulder ROM

Can a rotator cuff tear be cured without surgery?

Most of the Rotator Cuff tears can be treated without surgery in the initial stages.however full thickness tears respond poorly to anti inflammatory medications and physiotherapy.

If the pain persist after 6-8 weeks of physiotherapy then surgical repair is the only option.

Surgery is also indicated for active individuals who use their hands to work on the head or exercise. Swimmers and tennis players are common examples.

How is torn Rotator Cuff Tendon repaired?

An arthroscope is very useful in repairing the rotator cuff tendon. Using an arthroscope allows visualization of the inside of the joint to facilitate repair.

To reattach the tendon, Dr Rewat uses a strong suture anchor to fix the rotator cuff tendons to the bone.

Will I Have Pain After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

You will be given a ultrasound guided nerve block before the surgery to take care of post surgical pain. Later at the time of discharge you will be given pain medications to round off any pain which you might have.

How successful is rotator cuff surgery?

If done properly and followed with robust physiotherapy ,Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair has excellent results.

What Can I Expect After Rotator Cuff Surgery?

Recovery is broken up into several phases: The first 3 weeks the shoulder is kept in an arm pouch to allow the area to heal as much as possible. For up to 6 weeks the focus is on normal shoulder movement. At 7-8 weeks strengthening exercises for the shoulder will commence.

When can you drive after a Rotator Cuff Surgery?

  • Car driving : 4 - 6 weeks
  • Two wheeler : 8 - 12 weeks

What happens if the rotator cuff is not repaired?

Neglected rotator cuff tears lead to arthritis called rotator cuff arthropathy.It Leads to severe limitation of shoulder function and pain.