Rotator Cuff Tear

ROTATOR CUFF TEAR TREATMENT

What do you do for a torn rotator cuff?

Initial treatments for rotator cuff tears can include icing, rest, refraining from strenuous activities and anti-inflammatory medication. Your orthropedic specialist might also prescribe physical therapy or a steroidal injection in less severe cases. If these measures don’t alleviate symptoms, or the tear is too large to be effectively treated with them, arthroscopic surgery will be recommended.

TORN ROTATOR CUFF SURGERY

Torn rotator cuffs are usually treated with arthroscopic surgery, a skilled minimally invasive procedure. The operation entails a few small pin-hole incisions into the shoulder, through which the surgeon places a narrow telescope to view the injured tendon. The surgeon will then insert micro instruments to reattach the torn tendon back onto the bone. The tendon is then held in place with an absorbable anchor to ensure stability as the tendon heals back onto the bone.

CAN A TORN ROTATOR CUFF HEAL ON ITS OWN?

While a torn rotator cuff will not heal by itself, surgery isn’t always necessary. Patients with partial tears usually can recover without surgery, especially if they’re older and less active. In such cases, your orthopedic specialist might recommend physical therapy to prevent stiffness, rebuild muscle strength, and restore the shoulder’s range of motion. If necessary, your doctor might also prescribe anti-inflammatories or a steroid injection to alleviate pain.

TORN ROTATOR CUFF RECOVERY TIMES

Rotator Cuff Tear Recovery Time Without Surgery

If your specialist doesn’t recommend surgery, a physical therapy program can help you regain some function in as little as six weeks, though it can take as long as several months.

Rotator Cuff Tear Surgery Recovery Time

Arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery is designed to make your recovery time shorter and easier. You’ll see your surgeon a week after the operation, and you’ll have follow-up appointments on a monthly basis until you’ve completely recovered. In general, the repaired shoulder will be kept in a sling for a month following surgery, but gentle physical therapy can begin within a few days of the operation.

After the sling is removed, physical therapy will become more intensive to help you rebuild strength and restore a full range of motion. Less strenous physical activities, such as using an elliptical or performing light bicep curls, can be undertaken within six weeks. While pain and discomfort should subside within two to three weeks, strenuous lifting should be avoided for at least five months. In most cases, a torn rotator cuff will be completely healed after five or six months, and you should be able to resume all physical activities at this time.

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