Skip to content

    Rotator Cuff Disorders

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Surgery

    Surgery may be considered if:

    • Your rotator cuff injury is very severe.
    • You have severe pain and loss of shoulder function that haven't responded to other treatment.
    • You have shoulder weakness caused by a complete tear, especially when the rotator cuff is otherwise healthy.

    Surgery typically is used to repair a torn rotator cuff in a healthy young person, because good results are more likely if there is little or no evidence of other problems. People who have advanced rotator cuff disorders and tendons that are tough, stringy (fibrous), and stiff usually respond less well to surgery. Surgery may successfully repair the tear, but it can't repair all the damage caused by age or degeneration.

    If surgery isn't done right away, repair of a large tear may not be as successful. But it still usually relieves pain and restores enough strength for you to do routine, nonstrenuous activities.

    After surgery, a program of physical rehabilitation (rehab) is very important. You may not do as well after surgery if you aren't willing or able to commit to completing a challenging physical rehab program.

    Rotator Cuff Problems: Should I Have Surgery?

    Surgery choices

    Shoulder surgery for rotator cuff disorders usually involves one or more of the following:

    These procedures may be done arthroscopically, by traditional open surgery, or by a combination of the two approaches.

    Sometimes a rotator cuff tear is so severe that it can't be fixed in the usual ways. If this happens in a younger person, the doctor may suggest moving another tendon to substitute for the torn tendon. In an older person, the doctor may suggest a special shoulder replacement.

    What to think about

    The success of surgery for rotator cuff tears depends on many things, such as:

    • The amount of other damage present.
    • Your age.
    • Other medical conditions. Some may cause you to heal slower.
    • Your recovery goals and commitment to and compliance with a physical rehabilitation program.
    • Whether you smoke. Smoking decreases the blood supply throughout the body and slows the healing process.
    1

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: June 04, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    acupuncture needle on shoulder
    10 tips to look and feel good.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    pacemaker next to xray
    Treatment options.
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.