May 01, 2012

Rotator cuff repair

Shoulder pain solutions

Rotator cuff

You've had a troublesome shoulder for years. The mild wear and tear to your rotator cuff has become worse. You've tried to take a conservative approach. But even with physical therapy and diligent adherence to prescribed exercises, there's been little improvement over the last six months. The pain is too much, and no amount of rest or modification of your usual activities seems to help.

Your doctor says it's time to consider surgery to address the pain and make needed rotator cuff repairs so that you can use your shoulder more reliably without fear of ongoing pain.

What surgical procedure you'll have depends on the extent of damage to the rotator cuff. Occasionally, the best approach is an open or a mini-open repair with an incision of from 1 to several inches to repair a large tear. However, a less invasive procedure called shoulder arthroscopy also can be an option. In the hands of a skilled surgeon, this can be done through several tiny incisions using specialized surgical tools and an arthroscope, which is a long, thin, lighted instrument with a camera at the end.

Arthroscopy is finding a regular place in the field of surgical repairs for rotator cuff problems and related shoulder joint damage. In addition, rotator cuff repairs using arthroscopy alone often can be done without a hospital stay.

Inside story

The shoulder is a complex ball-and-socket joint and is one of the most mobile in the body. The ball is part of the upper arm...