Rotator Cuff Surgery: What To Expect, Benefits, and Recovery

No one wants to get unnecessary surgery, but it is sometimes inevitable. When it comes to any medical procedure that involves aspects like anesthesia and recovery time, it’s advisable to learn what the treatment entails. If you are considering rotator cuff surgery, this article will help explain the procedure and help you decide if it’s for you.

What is the rotator cuff, and what does it do?

The purpose of rotator cuff surgery is to repair a tear in the group of tendons that help form the shoulder. The rotator cuff is a tendon that connects muscles from the scapula to the top of the humerus bone, creating a cup around the glenohumeral joint, the ball-and-socket joint of your shoulder. This cuff of tendons allows your muscles to flex and rotate as you move your arm around.

What is Rotator Cuff Surgery?

Rotator Cuff Surgery is to repair a tear in the group of tendons that help form the shoulder. The surgeon will reattach the torn tendon to the bone using sutures and suture anchors. Rotator Cuff tears can vary from minor tears that cause pain when you move your arm to a complete tear. There are three different approaches to Rotator Cuff Surgery, each suited to the level of damage done to the cuff.

  • Open Repair Rotator Cuff Surgery – This procedure involves the surgeon creating an incision and then moving the various muscles aside to reach the damaged area before suturing the tendons back to the bone. This technique is generally used in severally torn cuffs and has a longer recovery time.
  • Rotator Cuff Surgery Using A Shoulder Arthroscopy – This technique uses a tiny camera called an arthroscope that the surgeon inserts into the shoulder through a small incision. The arthroscope allows the surgeon to view the rotator cuff while minimizing damage to the muscle tissue. Next, a small incision is made so the surgeon can reach the damaged area and suture the tendon back to the bone. This procedure is used when the tear in the rotator cuff is less severe and isn’t a complete tear.
  • Mini Open Repair Rotator Cuff Surgery – This technique uses an arthroscope to repair as much damage to the cuff as possible and a larger incision to complete the sutures that reconnect the rotator cuff to the bone.

Benefits of Rotator Cuff Surgery

While surgery tends to be everyone’s last choice of treatment, there are times when it is unavoidable. When it comes to rotator cuff tears, there are multiple benefits to having surgery. Significant or severe tears may be too painful to pursue nonsurgical treatment options. More minor tears benefit from surgery when nonsurgical treatments have not resolved the symptoms caused by the tear. No one wants to live with perpetual shoulder pain, but rotator cuff surgery is an excellent and effective option for resolving chronic shoulder pain.


For many patients, the most important aspect of surgery is how long the recovery process will take. Worrying about how long surgery will affect your life is understandable. You may wonder how long it will be before you can drive, go back to work, exercise, or take up your hobbies after rotator cuff surgery. Immediately after the surgery, patients will have sutures and have to wear a sling for 4 to 6 weeks. However, depending on the severity of the cuff tear and what surgical technique was used, you can expect to be completely recovered in 4 to 6 months.

Is rotator cuff surgery a good option for you?

If you have pursued nonsurgical treatments to no avail or have been advised by a physician that you need rotator cuff surgery, we can help. Contact us HERE for more information.

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