When to Consider Rotator Cuff Repair

Take a moment to swing your arms around and even reach around to touch your back. What you’re experiencing is the incredibly wide range of motion your shoulders provide and your rotator cuff plays no small role in this. So, when there’s a problem, like a tear, you want to do everything you can to safeguard the full function of your shoulder.

This goal is very much aligned with our own as Dr. Timothy Wilson specializes in shoulder and knee issues. Not only does Dr. Wilson and our team have the experience you need to resolve your shoulder issue, they use the most advanced techniques available to repair these important joints.

If you’re struggling with a rotator cuff tear, here’s a look at when you should consider repair.

Rotator cuff at a glance

Before we explore when and why you should consider repairing your rotator cuff, let’s quickly review the role this band of tissue plays in your shoulder. Your shoulder is a very shallow ball-and-socket joint where your upper arm bone (humerus), your shoulder blade (scapula), and your collarbone (clavicle) come together.

To hold your arm in the shallow socket, you have a rotator cuff, which is a group of four muscles that extend from your shoulder blade and join as tendons to cover the head of your upper arm bone.

While your rotator cuff plays the very important role of holding your arm in place, it also allows you to lift and rotate your arm.

Behind a rotator cuff tear

Since your shoulders are inherently unstable joints, there’s much that can go wrong, such as a rotator cuff tear. In fact, two million people in the United States visit their doctors for rotator cuff problems.

There are two types of rotator cuff tears, which dictates your treatment to a great degree. If the tear doesn’t completely sever the tendon, we call it a partial tear. If the tendon is completely severed, we refer to this as a complete tear.

Most torn rotator cuffs develop either due to an acute injury or because of wear-and-tear (repeated stresses).

Waving goodbye to rotator cuff problems

The first step in determining whether your rotator cuff tear warrants intervention is to have Dr. Wilson perform a full evaluation of your shoulder joint. Through advanced imaging, he can determine the extent of the tear and recommend next steps.

We want to stress here how important it is to seek our help at the earliest signs of a problem as tears can grow worse if left unaddressed. As well, if we catch the rotator cuff tear early enough, we can turn to more conservative treatments to remedy the problem, such as:

While a conservative route may be preferable, there are times when repair is the wiser choice. To give you an idea, here are some good rules of thumb for determining whether surgical repair is a good idea:

The good news is that we use the latest minimally invasive surgical techniques — shoulder arthroscopy — to perform your rotator cuff repair or debridement. And, after the procedure, Dr. Wilson often goes the extra mile and introduces a REGENETEN™ Bioinductive Implant to stimulate your body’s natural healing response.

To determine whether your rotator cuff can benefit from surgical repair, contact our office in Lexington, Kentucky, to set up an evaluation.

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