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Shoulder Surgery: Repairing A Rotator Cuff Injury

Shoulder Surgery: Repairing A Rotator Cuff Injury

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons in the shoulder that help to keep the shoulder joint stable and allow for arm movement. Unfortunately, rotator cuff injuries are a common problem, and they can be very painful and debilitating. If conservative measures such as rest, ice, and physical therapy are not effective in treating the injury, shoulder surgery may be recommended to repair the damage. If you are experiencing a rotator cuff injury here is everything you need to know about shoulder surgery.

Are you considering arthroscopic shoulder surgery to repair your rotator cuff injury?
Read Are You A Candidate For Minimally Invasive Arthroscopic Shoulder Surgery?.

Shoulder Surgery For Rotator Cuff Injuries

What causes a rotator cuff injury?
A rotator cuff injury can occur suddenly, such as from a fall or a direct blow to the shoulder. More commonly, however, rotator cuff injuries are the result of wear and tear over time. This is especially true in people who engage in repetitive overhead activities, such as baseball players, tennis players, and construction workers.

As we age, the tendons in the rotator cuff can become weaker and more prone to injury. Other factors that can increase the risk of a rotator cuff injury include poor posture, obesity, and smoking.

What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff injury?
The symptoms of a rotator cuff injury can vary depending on the severity of the injury. Common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the shoulder, especially when lifting or reaching overhead
  • Weakness in the shoulder
  • Stiffness or limited range of motion in the shoulder
  • A clicking or popping sensation in the shoulder
  • Shoulder pain that disturbs sleep

How is a rotator cuff injury diagnosed?
If you are experiencing symptoms of a rotator cuff injury, your doctor will perform a physical examination of your shoulder. They may also order imaging tests, such as an X-ray or an MRI, to get a better look at the damage to your rotator cuff.

How is a rotator cuff injury treated?
The first line of treatment for a rotator cuff injury is usually conservative measures, such as rest, ice, and physical therapy. Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.

If conservative treatment is not effective, or if you have a severe rotator cuff injury, your doctor may recommend surgery to repair the damage. There are several surgical options for rotator cuff repair, including arthroscopic surgery and open surgery.

During arthroscopic surgery, a small camera is inserted into the shoulder joint through a small incision. The surgeon then uses small instruments to repair the rotator cuff through additional incisions. This approach is less invasive than open surgery and typically involves a shorter recovery time.

Open surgery involves making a larger incision in the shoulder to access the rotator cuff. This approach may be necessary for more complex rotator cuff injuries or for patients who have had previous shoulder surgery.

What is the recovery like after rotator cuff surgery?
Recovery after rotator cuff surgery can take several months, and it is important to follow your doctor's instructions for postoperative care. You may need to wear a sling for several weeks after surgery to protect the shoulder as it heals. You will also need to participate in physical therapy to regain strength and range of motion in your shoulder. It is important to take things slow and avoid overdoing it during the recovery period. Your surgeon will give you specific guidelines for resuming normal activities, such as driving or lifting weights.

Shoulder Surgery At Okanagan Health Surgical

A rotator cuff injury can be a painful and debilitating condition. If conservative treatment is not effective, shoulder surgery may be necessary to repair the damage. There are several surgical options for rotator cuff repair, and recovery can take several months. It is important to follow your doctor's instructions for postoperative care and to take things slow during the recovery period. With proper treatment and care, most people with a rotator cuff injury can regain full function in their shoulder.

If you are experiencing shoulder joint pain, Okanagan Health Surgical provides early diagnosis and effective treatment to make a significant difference to your overall health and lifestyle. We will thoroughly assess your shoulder injury to determine if shoulder surgery is necessary or if your injuries can be remedied through non-invasive treatment. If shoulder surgery is needed, Okanagan Health Surgical can leverage the technologies available for minimally invasive arthroscopic shoulder surgery or open shoulder surgery. If you are suffering from shoulder pain, contact Okanagan Health Surgical at 1-250-868-9799 or fill out the online contact form.


Q: How do I know if I need shoulder surgery?
A: If your shoulder pain is prolonged or doesn’t stop, if it affects your sleep, if your shoulder becomes weak, or if shoulder movement becomes more limited you may need shoulder surgery. If you have shoulder pain, you should speak with a doctor, as there may be non-surgical treatments that can benefit your shoulder pain as well. To learn more about shoulder surgery, read Signs You May Need Shoulder Surgery.

Q: What type of surgeon should I see for a shoulder injury?
A: If you are contemplating shoulder surgery, an orthopedic doctor is the best option to treat highly specialized and complicated joints such as your shoulder.

Q: What can I do to avoid exacerbating my shoulder injury?
A: Keeping your shoulder healthy and supporting healing is the best way to avoid ending up with a serious condition that will require surgical intervention. Ways you can do this are:

  • Ergonomically correct alignment if you work at a desk.
  • Proper support from any seat you spend time in: office chair, car etc.
  • Daily movement of your arms through stretching, yoga, lifting weights, jogging or other types of exercises as recommended by your physician and/or physical therapist.
  • Engaging in proper lifting techniques.
  • Strength training to better support the area. Be sure to do this with the guidance of a professional who understands your injury.

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