Your doctor may recommend surgery as an option for a torn rotator cuff if your pain does not improve with non-surgical methods. Persistent pain is the main indication for surgery. If you are very active and use your hands for sports, your doctor may also recommend surgery.
Other signs that surgery might be the right choice for you are:
- Your symptoms last 6 to 12 months
- If you have a large tear (more than 3 cm) and the quality of the surrounding tendon tissue is good
- If you have significant weakness and loss of function on the shoulder
- A sharp injury recently caused tears
Arthroscopic repair for rotator cuff in Hyderabad at Dr Chandrasekhar:
In the past, repairing rotator cuff tendons usually required open incision that means three or four inches long. Things have changed when the surgeon feels more comfortable working in and around the shoulder joint with an arthroscope. Nowadays it is far more common to repair rotator cuff tears with an arthroscope.
Shoulder arthroscopy is a technique used to diagnose and treat various injuries to the shoulder joint. This technique is different from the traditional open surgical approach. Instead of making a large incision, the surgeon makes several small incisions usually about half an inch to reach the damaged tendon. The surgeon then inserts a thin camera, called an arthroscope, into one of the incisions to get an anatomical picture of the injury and the surrounding tissue. The remaining incisions allow the introduction of special surgical tools to assist the surgeon in removing scars and bone spurs, both of which can contribute to the symptoms of rotator cuff tear pain. The surgeon also uses plastic screws and sutures to repair torn tendons.
A torn rotator cuff is just one condition in which shoulder arthroscopy can heal. Other common indications include labrum injuries, ligament injuries, and general repair of shoulder dislocations.
What should you expect?
Surgery is a tense experience for many people, but knowing what is expected can reduce some of this fear. These are the steps you need to know.
- Preoperative care: Before surgery, your doctor will do a check to make sure you are healthy enough for surgery. Depending on your general condition, additional tests may be needed. Your doctor will discuss all risks associated with surgery and give you all the preoperative instructions you need, such as: Which medications you may or may not take before the procedure.
- Day of operation: On the day of the operation you planned, you should avoid eating or drinking after midnight. When you arrive at the hospital, wear a surgical gown and wait to go to the operating room.
- Anaesthesia: Once you are in the operating room, the anesthesiologist will give general anaesthesia, a combination of medicines that will put you to sleep during the operation. You will not feel anything pain. Anaesthetists can also apply nerve blocks that numb the shoulder. The nerve block continues after you wake up, so you will most likely experience very little pain the first time you wake up after surgery.
- Postoperative recovery: You wake up in the hospital’s postoperative recovery area. After anaesthesia, you may feel sick. This sensation is completely normal and disappears. Most arthroscopic repairs to the rotator cuff are done on an outpatient basis so you can go home the same day as the procedure.
How can you deal with postoperative pain and discomfort?
Pain therapy is one of the most important problems for patients after surgery. Anaesthesia and nerve blockage will help deal with the pain on the day of surgery, but once you get home, you are responsible for treating your pain. A doctor will prepare you to go home to begin the recovery process. Here are some things you can do to feel good after surgery.
- Ice: Placing an ice pack on your shoulder permanently can relieve pain and reduce swelling. When putting ice, be careful not to wet the incision. Place a cheesecloth around the ice and apply it to your shoulders for about 20 minutes each.
- Medication: Your doctor can prescribe pain relief. It is a good idea to consult with your doctor before taking any medicines. Because some medicines can affect bleeding, while others can interact with medications prescribed by your doctor, always follow the instructions carefully when taking medicine.
- Sleep: Sleep is an essential part of recovery, but it can be a challenge immediately after surgery. After surgery, a patient requires six weeks to sleep comfortably in a horizontal position. You might find it easier to sleep on the recliner chair. Or, you can use a pillow to support yourself in bed. Be sure to support the diseased arm up and away from your body. If you prefer to sleep on your side, you can sleep on your other shoulder.
Postoperative physical therapy: Physical therapy is an essential part of postoperative rotator cuff care. Your physiotherapist first introduces passive movements to your shoulder. They will move your hands gently to make sure your muscles and tendons are not overloaded. After completion, your physiotherapy will switch to active exercise, which means that your therapist will teach you how to move your arms. Eventually, you will begin to strengthen your shoulders with resistance training. Even though you have scheduled regular physiotherapy appointments, your therapist will likely give you exercises at home every day. Rotator cuff rehabilitation is usually continued at least a few months after surgery.
How long does it take for rotator cuff surgery to recover?
Recovery takes place in different phases. The first step is to treat your post-operative pain. Although your arm is likely to be immobilized for four to six weeks after surgery, you can get back to most of your normal activities within a few days after surgery. You can drive and walk, but remember that you will do these things with one hand. During the recovery period, work with your physical therapist for exercise to regain motion and strength of the shoulder.
The recovery timelines of the arthroscopic rotator cuff shoulder surgery can vary from person to person, but it usually takes four to six months to recover fully. It may take longer for you to lift weights again. Talk to a doctor and physiotherapist before continuing with your practice or returning to work that makes you feel a strain on your shoulder.
Benefits of Arthroscopic shoulder surgery:
The main goal of this surgery is usually pain relief. Repairing tendons can also increase strength and range of active movement in the shoulder joint. The range of active motion describes joint mobility and how far you can move the joint in a different direction. After surgery, you also have to find that you can manage your daily activities better because you can do more with your own hands. The advantages of arthroscopic surgery over old open surgical techniques include:
- Minimal scars
- No overnight hospital stay
- Decreased pain and swelling
- Improved motion
- Quicker functional recovery
- Fewer risks and complications
Arthroscopic Surgery for rotator cuff tear reduces or eliminates shoulder pain is very good. However, surgery may not restore the full strength of your shoulders. With time and physiotherapy, you can regain your function, but you can still have weakness, stiffness, or chronic pain. It may take several months before you can exercise or do other activities that require full shoulder strength and a comprehensive range of movement.
If you need an arthroscopic rotator cuff tear assessment and surgery in Hyderabad, make an appointment with Dr Chandra Shekhar shoulder surgeon or call at 9959588389.