Rotator Cuff Tears
The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint and provide stability to it. The rotator cuff is very important for keeping the shoulder joint centered throughout the entire range of motion of the shoulder. Rotator cuff tears are usually not the result of an injury, but rather just the aging process and a little bit of bad luck.
The most common symptom of a rotator cuff tear is pain. The pain usually manifests itself on the lateral aspect of the shoulder and down the arm sometimes. The pain is usually encountered when trying to elevate the arm above the head, or reach around behind the back, or reach out to the side.
Sometimes rotator cuff tears do need to be addressed surgically. The factors that go into deciding whether or not a rotator cuff tear needs to be repaired include the size of the tear as well as the age of the patient. Usually with patients over 65, the outcomes of rotator cuff repair are less predictable and less satisfactory, and at that point usually other treatments may be more beneficial.
While the surgery itself is a fairly quick procedure, the recovery process can be quite lengthy. The rehabilitation after a rotator cuff repair is just as important as the surgery itself. Regardless of the treatment chosen to treat someone with a rotator cuff tear, most patients are very happy with their outcome, and regain a lot of function and range of motion in their shoulder.
I love treating rotator cuff tears; it’s one of my favorite things to do with the shoulder. I love sitting down and talking with people about how we can make their shoulder better, I love doing the surgery, and I love seeing people come back in after they’ve fully recovered, having great range of motion and function.