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Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair

This procedure is carried out when a patient has a symptomatic rotator cuff tear. It is likely that there has already been an attempt at non surgical treatment such as injections or physiotherapy. Symptoms usually include:

  • pain in the upper arm
  • pain is worse on rotation of the arm and reaching
  • weakness in elevation
  • pain on lying on the affected shoulder

The rotator cuff is normally attached to the bone of the upper humerus and the aim of the surgery is to reattach the tendon to bone. This forms a temporary hold, over time we require biological healing for successful repair.

The video shows a suture anchor being inserted into the bone, the anchor has suture material attached to it which can then be used to repair the damaged tendon.

 

 

please watch the animation below

The pictures show a torn rotator cuff being repaired to the bone using suture anchors, with sutures passed through the torn rotator cuff tendon.

 

 

The double row repair shown here tries to give the maximum contact area between the tendon and the bone to try and maximise healing.

After the repair the tendon needs rest to maximise healing and prevent the repair being pulled apart.

Stiffness and pain are common in the first few months after a repair and we would not expect to see the benefits of surgery until 4-6 months afterwards.

Postoperative care

The patient will usually wear a sling for 4 weeks.

Depending on repair stability pendular exercises will either start straight after surgery or be delayed for 2 weeks.  After 4 weeks active assisted exercises are begun. Formal strengthening does not begin for 3 months after surgery. For more detailed information on physiotherapy protocols click here.

 

Andrew Brooksbank

Febuary2012