A rotator cuff tear occurs in the tendon that keeps the upper arm bone to the shoulder socket. A tear is either partial or complete, depending on whether there is still part of the tendon attached to the upper arm bone.
A rotator cuff tear can cause pain and restrict the motion of the rotator cuff. When it comes to treating this injury, a rotator cuff repair may not always be possible. Here’s why.
The Patient Waited Too Long
The option to have rotator cuff repair surgery may not be available to individuals who waited too long to get surgery. When a person waits too long for the surgery, the tendon contracts, and can no longer be reattached. Moreover, the other soft tissues, such as the muscles, may have already weakened, making rotator cuff repair, not a viable option. When the muscles that support the tendon have weakened, the repair is unlikely to hold up.
The Tissues Are Not Healthy
For rotator cuff repair surgery to become successful, the patient needs a healthy, good-quality tendon. If the tendon is severely weakened, which is common in patients with arthritis of the shoulder, the procedure may not be possible.
Rotator cuff repair may not be possible for some patients, in most cases, rotator cuff repair surgery is not necessary. There are other options for treatment.
What Other Options Are There?
Just because surgery is not an option, it doesn’t mean patients have to live with the pain forever. In reality, patients can get back their shoulder function even with a torn rotator cuff. It is also a fact that many people who have tears in their rotator cuff have no symptoms and discover it at a medical imaging test for another condition. Most rotator cuff tears can heal with non-surgical treatments.
The goal of non-surgical treatments for patients with torn rotator cuffs is to relieve pain, improve range of motion, and restore shoulder function. Activity modification, ice, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and corticosteroid injections can help relieve symptoms and restore normal function to their shoulder.
If non-surgical treatments to the shoulder do not produce satisfying results, the doctor may recommend other surgeries. Shoulder debridement is an option for patients with partial tears. It involves removing inflamed, damaged tissue and loose pieces of bone. This may be done using a minimally invasive approach, with an arthroscope. An arthroscope is a long, thin, flexible instrument with a camera attached at the end.
Rotator Cuff Repair in Baltimore, MD
Our orthopedic surgeons at Greater Chesapeake Hand to Shoulder in Maryland specialize in treatments of the shoulder. We have decades of experience treating torn rotator cuffs. We will determine what treatment options are available to you. For patients with shoulder pain symptoms, we advise you to come in for an early evaluation because it helps you have the best outcomes. To make an appointment, call (410) 296-6232 or use our online appointment request form. We look forward to providing you the best in upper extremity care.