Rotator cuff tears are among the most common shoulder injuries experienced by people of all ages. Even though technology has become better at diagnosing and treating shoulder problems, it’s hard to prevent. According to research by experts, 13% of people over 50 years and 50% of people over 70 years are at higher risk for rotator cuff tears, respectively. There has also been a rise in rotator cuff repair surgeries in recent years. Our surgical methods for repairing the rotator cuff have greatly improved over the past few decades, moving from an open operation to a less invasive “mini-open” approach to the current, complete arthroscopic method.
As a result of these arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs, patients tend to recover more quickly and experience less pain.
Factors that play a key in rotator cuff shoulder surgery success rate
Based on the research done by many experts, they found 12 critical factors associated with better results after rotator cuff repair surgery.
These 12 factors were categorised into four types:
- Demographic factors
- Clinical factors
- Factors associated with rotator cuff integrity
- Factors associated with surgical procedures
Regarding overall characteristics, the patient’s age at the point of surgery constituted the most important finding. Increasing age had a detrimental impact on recovery.
According to some studies, the chances of a tendon healing decrease as you age. The best results were seen in patients under 50 years of age, who had an 88–95% possibility of tendon repair. On the other hand, those people above 60 years of age had a 43–65% chance of recovering from tendon damage.
Several factors were associated with poor tissue healing, including bone mineral density and diabetes. The risk of less successful outcomes was also increased with obesity. It was found that obese individuals had a 12% lower chance of achieving successful results.
Physically inactive people may have poorer outcomes than those involved in regular physical activities like exercising and playing sports like golf, swimming, running, and tennis.
If you have problems like lower bone density and diabetes, they can’t be prevented. However, doctors make sure they are controlled by medicine before the surgery. Many other factors can hinder the procedure, like obesity, activity level, strength, and mobility, which can be managed before surgery.
Rotator Cuff Integrity Factors
If the anatomy of the rotator cuff is considered, four critical factors were linked to poor outcomes: the extent of the tear, injury type; the extent of tendon retraction; and the amount of fat loss. All these factors contribute to tissue degeneration and may be connected to age.
In general, severe tissue degeneration results in worse outcomes. Over time, the tear increases in size and starts to retract (pull off) from the bone, which eventually becomes weak. A minor rotator cuff tear repaired surgically has a 96.7% chance of healing following surgery, compared to tears that grow more significant, having a 58.8% chance of healing completely.
Factors that increase your rotator cuff shoulder surgery success rate
It is believed that the following insights provide some clarity on several strategies we might employ to improve your outcomes after rotator cuff repair surgery:
- The important thing is to accurately diagnose the shoulder issues before treating the symptoms to reduce the likelihood of rotator cuff problems in the future.
- Avoid delaying surgery unnecessarily because the more you delay the surgery, the less successful the results will be.
- Also, delaying surgery could lead to degenerative changes within the rotator cuff. It is less likely that the procedure will be successful if the tear is more significant and more tissue is degenerative.
- Both losing weight and engaging in physical activity are linked to better results. Start working out.
- Pre-surgery physical therapy is recommended. It is better if your shoulder is more muscular and mobile at the time of surgery, as this will improve your chances of a successful recovery. Your strength will improve, and you’ll be able to resume your normal activities sooner.
- Some studies even say that effective physical therapy can prevent rotator cuff surgery.
- Make sure medical complications like bone mineral density and diabetes are addressed and kept under control before surgery.
Many controlled strategies improve your chances of success following rotator cuff repair surgery. To get more detailed information about the type of treatment required for your shoulder problems, consult Dr Chandra Sekhar, the best shoulder specialist in Hyderabad. He has more than two decades of experience treating various shoulder problems, including severe rotator cuff tears.