Advancing Rotator Cuff Repair

For some patients, surgery remains the only option when symptoms of a rotator cuff tear become too severe. Thankfully, surgical treatment options have advanced in recent years to make the procedure, recovery, and rehabilitation easier than ever before.

Forming the rotator cuff is a group of tendons that surrounds the shoulder joint and allows for the shoulder to participate in many movements and functions. If one or more of those tendons should become injured, a rotator cuff tear may occur. Typically, patients express feelings of pain and loss of strength, movement, and sleep.

Traditionally, open rotator cuff repair was the surgical option for a rotator cuff tear when conservative treatment options were unsuccessful. Making an incision on the outside of the shoulder, 10-12 centimeters in length, the surgeon would separate shoulder muscles to expose the rotator cuff for repair; however, a procedure of this magnitude caused a significant amount of pain and usually remained an issue following recovery.

Fortunately, the latest development in the surgical procedure has advanced in technique and now requires a much smaller incision, about one centimeter in length. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair incorporates the use of a small camera (to view the joint and its tendons) and small instruments (to perform the repair of tendons) all while viewing the procedure on a television monitor.

The type of procedure required varies per patient. If you are experiencing pain in your shoulder, contact the experts at Black Hills Orthopedic & Spine Center by calling (605) 385-0085 to see if this procedure can help you return to the activities you love most.  

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