Preparing For Rotator Cuff Surgery: A Step-By-Step Guide

Preparing For Rotator Cuff Surgery: A Step-By-Step Guide


The muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder are called the rotator cuff. It is among the shoulder's most crucial components. It enables you to extend your arm upward. A rotator cuff tear, for example, can occur immediately by falling on an outstretched hand or gradually develop from repeated use. A further consequence of aging may be rotator cuff tears and degeneration.

If your rotator cuff is injured, it may require surgery to repair it. This may include shaving off bone spurs that are pinching the shoulder or repairing torn muscles or tendons in the shoulder. Reattaching the tendon to the humerus head is typically required for this. An arthroscopy, open surgery, or a mix of the two may be utilized as a surgical method to heal a rotator cuff injury. The purpose of rotator cuff repair surgery is to reduce unresponsive pain to conservative measures and to restore the shoulder's flexibility and function.

When Is Surgery For A Rotator Cuff Needed?

Injuries to the shoulder are frequent. Due to misuse of the shoulder and repetitive movements, rotator cuff injuries are common in athletes and construction workers.  Rotator cuff injuries can arise from falls or any other kind of shoulder injury. Additionally, damage may occur gradually over time. The damage could be caused by:

  • Teas or strain in rotator cuff
  • Bursitis (inflammation of the bursa) in the shoulder
  • Tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons) in the shoulder

Frequently occurring pain, restricted arm movement, and weakened muscles are typical symptoms of rotator cuff injuries. Surgery to repair the rotator cuff may be needed if other medical therapies aren't functioning. Medical treatments for rotator cuff injury may involve taking. adequate rest, NSAIDs, steroid injections, strengthening and stretching exercises.

The primary indication for surgery is persistent pain. Your doctor might also recommend surgery if you have an active lifestyle and utilize your arms for sports or overhead tasks. 

Additional indications that you might benefit from surgery include: 

  • Your symptoms have lasted 6 to 12 months 
  • The condition of the tendon tissue surrounding the major tear (greater than 3 cm) is good
  • Your shoulder is severely weak and no longer functions
  • Your tear was brought on by an acute, recent injury.

Surgical Repair Options For Rotator Cuff Injuries:

Rotator cuff tears can be repaired in a number of different ways. Less intrusive approaches are among the advancements in rotator cuff repair surgery. Getting the tendon to repair back to the bone is the common objective of all accessible techniques, each of which has pros and cons of its own.  The kind of repair chosen is determined by a number of variables, such as: 

  • The knowledge and familiarity your surgeon has with a specific operation
  • The extent of your tear
  • Your morphology (anatomy)
  • The quality of the bone and tendon tissue

An overnight stay in the hospital is not necessary for the majority of surgical repairs, which can be completed as an outpatient procedure. The optimal method to suit your specific medical needs will be discussed with you by your orthopedic surgeon.

The following three methods are most frequently employed to repair rotator cuffs:

  • Traditional open repair:  The initial method for treating torn rotator cuffs was open repair. If the tear is extensive or intricate, a conventional open surgical incision (a few centimeters long) is usually necessary. To better view and access the ruptured tendon, the surgeon makes an incision across the shoulder and splits or disconnects the deltoid, the first of the shoulder muscles.  An acromioplasty, or open repair, usually involves the surgeon excising bone spurs from the underside of the acromion. Open surgery is indicated if the tear is large or complicated, this is a suitable alternative if it needs additional reconstruction like a tendon transfer.
  • Arthroscopic repair:  An arthroscope, a tiny camera, is inserted into your shoulder joint by the surgeon during an arthroscopy. Your surgeon utilizes the live video feed from the camera to guide tiny surgical instruments on a monitor.  Your physician can do traditional, open surgery using smaller incisions called portals, instead of the larger incision required for the arthroscope and surgical equipment due to their compact and thin design.  The least intrusive way to repair a torn rotator cuff is with an all-arthroscopic treatment, which is often performed as an outpatient operation.
  • Mini-open repair: Compared to a traditional open repair, a smaller open incision is required for the mini-open repair. Typically, arthroscopy is used in this procedure to evaluate and treat injury to other joint structures. For instance, bone spurs are frequently extracted arthroscopically. By doing this, the deltoid muscle doesn't have to be detached. The surgeon uses the mini-open incision to repair the rotator cuff after the arthroscopic component of the treatment is finished. Instead of using a visual monitor, the surgeon sees the shoulder tissues directly during the tendon surgery.
  • Patients ultimately give the same ratings to all three repair techniques for overall satisfaction, strength gain, and pain relief.

How Should I Prepare For The Repair Of My Shoulder Rotator Cuff?

Your orthopedic surgeon will go over the entire process with you before beginning the procedure, and you will need to sign a consent document. Before surgery, your doctor will do a complete evaluation to assess your health status.  Notify your physician of any underlying medical issues, medications you are taking, any drug allergies you may have, whether you are pregnant or nursing a baby. Before the procedure, you might be given a medication (sedative) to help you relax. Make plans for a dependable adult to drive you home following surgery. Before your operation, you can have a meeting with a physical therapist to discuss your rehabilitation. Your clinician can ask for further preparation depending on your medical condition.

Rotator Cuff Surgery: A Step By Step Guide In Exploring The Procedure

You may receive rotator cuff repair as part of your hospital stay or as an outpatient procedure. Depending on your health and your provider's practices, several procedures might be used.  Under general anesthesia, rotator cuff repair can be performed while you are asleep, or it can be performed under local or regional anesthesia while you are awake. Your shoulder will be completely devoid of feeling if regional anesthesia is applied. Which kind of anesthesia is used will depend on the particular surgery being performed. This will be covered in advance by your provider with you.

This procedure is typically followed during rotator cuff repair surgery:

  • Your healthcare professionals will ask you to remove the normal clothing and to wear a surgical gown
  • An IV line may be started from your hand or arm, you will be positioned on an operating table
  • Throughout the procedure, your breathing, blood oxygen level, heart rate, and blood pressure will all be continuously monitored by the anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist.
  • The skin over the surgical site is cleaned using an antiseptic solution
  • An incision will be made in the shoulder region by your orthopedic surgeon. Depending on whether open surgery, an arthroscopy, or a combination of the two is performed, the incision will change
  • The incision will be used to insert the arthroscope, if applicable
  • Other incisions may be made to use other small probing, grasping,  or cutting tools
  • A graft tendon may be used by the orthopedic surgeon to repair or replace damaged muscles and tendons
  • If there are any bone spurs, they will be removed
  • Either surgical staples or stitches will be used to close the incision. A sterile dressing or bandage will be applied

Recovery Following Shoulder Rotator Cuff Surgery

Pain will be felt following the procedure. To ease pain, your doctor may prescribe NSAIDs or anesthetics. People can use ice packs to lessen swelling. Rehabilitating yourself is essential to returning to your regular activities. You can restore shoulder mobility and strength with the use of a physical therapy programme. Exercises that involve immobilization, active movement, and passive movement will hasten the healing process. After surgery for a torn rotator cuff, most patients report feeling less discomfort and having stronger shoulders. A complete recovery could take up to six months.


After surgery for a torn rotator cuff, most patients report feeling less discomfort and having stronger shoulders.  The outcomes of open, mini-open, and arthroscopic surgical repair techniques are comparable in terms of pain alleviation, enhanced strength and function, and patient contentment. Surgeon expertise is more important in achieving satisfactory results than the choice of technique. Experience personalized care in your shoulder rotator cuff surgery from Dr ISHWAR Bohra, a senior orthopedic surgeon and the best shoulder arthroscopy surgeon in Delhi. Book your consultation today.


Q: Is shoulder arthroscopy a major surgery?

A: An arthroscopy is a type of invasive (minor) surgery that is performed to diagnose and repair joints. Typically, this process happens in an outpatient environment. This kind of exploratory surgery involves a tiny incision made by a medical practitioner to allow a viewing camera to be inserted into your joint.

Q: What occurs if a rotator cuff tear is not repaired?

A: Shoulder weakness and impairment may eventually result from an untreated rotator cuff tear. For this reason, if you're experiencing shoulder pain, it's crucial that you seek the advice of a skilled orthopedic physician. Experience personalized care in your shoulder rotator cuff surgery from Dr ISHWAR Bohra, a senior orthopedic surgeon and the best shoulder arthroscopy surgeon in Delhi. Book your consultation today.

Q: What is the recovery time for arthroscopic shoulder surgery?

A: The recovery time for arthroscopic shoulder surgery typically ranges from 1 to 6 months, depending on the severity of the injury and the type of surgery performed. Physical therapy usually begins a few weeks post-surgery to aid in the recovery process.


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