The rotator cuff is made up tendons and muscles that attach the arm to the shoulder. When the rotator cuff become damaged, treatment depends on the extent of the injury. If the injury is severe, surgery may be needed. Rotator cuff repair surgery is one of the more common surgeries done on the shoulder.
Most rotator cuff damage is caused by aging, but sometimes it can be caused by a fall, an attempt to jerk up on something heavy, or repetitive motion such as painting, playing tennis or throwing a baseball.
If the rotator cuff is torn or damaged by age or injury, your shoulder can become painful and your arm may become weak and difficult to lift or rotate.
In rotator cuff surgery, a tiny fiber-optic camera, on the end of a thin tube, is inserted into the joint. This camera allows the surgeon to see the damage on a high-resolution monitor. Microscopic instruments are also inserted into the joint. The surgeon uses these instruments to make repairs. The exact manner of repair depends on the type and extent of the damage.
Full recovery from rotator cuff repair surgery can take 4 to 6 months. After surgery, the patient works with a physical therapist, gradually increasing movement and building up strength. The amount of movement the patient recovers and the time it takes to heal depend on several factors, including: the amount of damage, the repair itself and whether or not the patient finishes “rehab homework”, both in rehab and at home.