The following may help relieve conditions of a rotator cuff tear: –
- Painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications.
- Physiotherapy keeps your shoulder strong and reduces pain and weakness.
- Cortisone steroid injections control the pain in certain patients.
Surgery is required if the tear follows an injury or if pain and weakness is not improved with injections and physiotherapy
About your rotator cuff operation
The operation aims to re-attach the tendon(s) to the bone. Sometimes the tear is too big and/or the tendon is too fragile for this to be possible and only a partial repair can be achieved.
The repair involves sewing the torn tendon back onto the bone. The operation is usually carried out by keyhole surgery (arthroscopy).
Most people are given a general anaesthetic. Several 5mm puncture wounds are made around the shoulder to allow entry of the arthroscopic instruments. One of the instruments is a camera which allows the surgeon to thoroughly inspect the inside of the shoulder joint. The tendon is repaired using bone anchors. These anchors are like small screws. They are made from a special material that becomes incorporated into the bone (bio composite). Other types are made of plastic or metal which are placed into the bone. Attached to the screw are a number of stitches which can be weaved through the torn tendon which allows the tendon to be firmly reattached back to the bone.
Will it be painful?
Prior to anaesthetic you will be given a nerve block which will reduce post op pain.
This will numb the whole arm for up to 24 hours after the operation.
Do I need to wear a sling?
It is extremely important to protect the tendon repair by using a sling day and night following the operation. This also makes your arm more comfortable. You will be shown how to get your arm in and out of the sling by a nurse or physiotherapist. You will wear the sling for up to 6 weeks depending on the size of the repair.
When can I go home?
Surgery is carried out as a day case.