Our Surgeons specialize in the treatment of all shoulder ailments and minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Our practice routinely sees patients for shoulder pain, often resulting from rotator cuff tears.
What are common causes of rotator cuff related injuries?
Rotator cuff tears may develop because of an acute injury, but are most often caused by age-related degeneration or chronic impingement (rotator cuff tendons being pulled and squeezed under the coracoacromial arch). Cuff tears can be diagnosed clinically, but an MRI is used to determine the extent of the tear and further management. If the patient has a full thickness tear that is causing significant pain and disability they may be a candidate for arthroscopic repair of the rotator cuff. This involves making several small incisions around the shoulder and entering the joint with a camera to visualize and repair the tear. The rehabilitation process is extensive and requires strict immobilization with a sling for 6 weeks. After this point you will begin physical therapy three times a week to start range of motion.
Common causes of rotator cuff problems include:
• Overuse from jobs involving lifting or repetitive overhead motions
• Sports that require overhead motions like golf, swimming, volleyball, or basketball.
• Poor coordination
• Bad posture
• Simply growing older
What are symptoms suggesting I may need treatment?
Pain that does not improve with therapy and rest along with positive MRI findings. Your doctor may recommend surgery for a torn rotator cuff if your pain does not improve with nonsurgical methods. Continued pain is the main indication for surgery. If you are very active and use your arms for overhead work or sports, your doctor may also suggest surgery.
Symptoms may include:
• Aching shoulder pain at night (often interrupting their sleep)
• Gradual deterioration in function
• Sudden onset of pain and weakness
• Struggling to raise your arm because of shoulder pain and weakness.
Rotator cuff repair procedure details
The recommended treatments, depending on your problem, may range from physical therapy or injections to minimally invasive arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Rotator Cuff repair normally takes about 2-3 hours. This involves making several small incisions around the shoulder and entering the joint with a camera to visualize and repair the tear. The rehabilitation process is extensive and requires strict immobilization with a sling for 6 weeks. After this point you will begin physical therapy three times a week to start range of motion.
Who is the ideal patient for rotator cuff repair?
The ideal patient is someone who has tried conservative measures to treat their rotator cuff issue and had little or no relief. The patient has MRI findings indicating a rotator cuff tear that is repairable. The patient is healthy enough to undergo anesthesia, surgery, and recovery.
Other signs that surgery may be a good option for you include:
- Your symptoms have lasted 6 to 12 months
- You have a large tear (more than 3 cm)
- You have significant weakness and loss of function in your shoulder
- Your tear was caused by a recent, acute injury
Rotator cuff repair post-op instructions and recovery
Immediately after your surgery your arm will be in a sling. You will have clear dressings with gauze underneath covering the incision sites. Recovery normally includes 6 weeks in a sling with no motion. You may start to feel pain in the shoulder right away or several hours after returning home once the nerve block wears off. Post operative pain is normal but will be well controlled with prescribed medications and appropriate care.
You may remove you dressings five days after your surgery. Call our office at (973) 942-1315 to schedule your first follow up visit 2 weeks after your procedure. Your stitches will be removed at this visit. Your next visit will be 4 weeks later at which point we will assess your progress and begin therapy. After 6 weeks you will begin therapy to gradually regain your motion. The entire rehabilitation process can take up to 6 months.
(For more post-op information click here!)
Is there any pain associated with treatment?
In order to manage any post operative pain you may experience, we recommend the following remedies:
- Prescribed pain medication
- Applying ice to the area
- Sitting/sleeping in a recliner for comfort may also help
- Your sling should be worn at all times even when sleeping
How long am I expected to wear the sling after surgery?
Expect to wear your sling for the first six weeks after your rotator cuff repair. After about six weeks you will begin physical therapy that will be prescribed by your doctor as part of your recovery. Exercises will begin gradually and you will slowly progress from small range of motion exercises eventually to strengthening exercises.
Schedule a consultation
With proper treatment, even complete tears can be treated and fixed by Dr. DeNoble. He is an expert in the current minimally invasive standard of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, avoiding the need for large incisions, and ensuring you can get back to your life in tip-top form.
If you are having shoulder pain near Wayne or Clifton, NJ contact us today to schedule a consultation.