Patients who chose rotator cuff repair are interested in alleviating chronic shoulder pain, and they are concerned about the condition worsening. A nagging inability to sleep due to constant discomfort is also reported. Studies bear out that through arthroscopic rotator cuff repair (ARCR), patients consistently achieve significant functional improvements and relief from pain and the patients’ objectives were achieved by surgery.
Understanding Rotator Cuff Injuries
Rotator cuff tears of the shoulder is not an uncommon cause of pain and disability among adults. Recent studies indicate that more than two million people in the US seek treatment for a rotator cuff problem annually. A torn rotator cuff will weaken the shoulder making it difficult for patients to accomplish even simple daily activities, like getting dressed in the morning or making the bed. This type of injury can become extremely painful and debilitating. Although treatments vary, we work with patients to help them make the best decisions for their individual lifestyles.
Making sense of shoulder pain
The rotator cuff is a set of four muscles that converge as tendons to form a covering around the head of the humerus. The rotator cuff attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade and helps to lift and rotate the arm to create stability and movement. A tendon can be torn through a traumatic injury or it can fray slowly over time and become dysfunctional as part of the natural aging process. Rotator cuff tears are presented as complete tears where the tendon has been torn in half or torn off the bone, and partial tears that result in soft tissue damage without completely severing the rotator cuff.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, most rotator cuff tears are caused by normal wear and tear and people over 40 are at greater risk. People whose daily activities require repetitive lifting are also at risk for rotator cuff tears, and athletes are especially vulnerable to overuse tears. Although overuse tears due to sports injury or overhead work may also occur in younger people, most tears in that group tend to be a result of traumatic injury, such as a fall.
Rotator Cuff Surgery Improving Patient Outcomes
The goal of any treatment is to reduce pain and restore function and, there are a number of treatment options available for a rotator cuff tear, although treatment is unique for each patient. But in those cases where surgery is called for, a damaged rotator cuff can be repaired through either open surgery or arthroscopic surgery under general anesthesia.
The vast majority of patients who undergo arthroscopic rotator cuff repair report improved shoulder strength and a dramatic decrease in pain following surgery along with significant improvement overall indicating that ARCR is a good option for patients seeking to improve shoulder function and reduce pain.
As one of the top programs in the North Bay for shoulder care Santa Rosa Orthopaedic’s Shoulder and Elbow programs provides highly specialized care to those experiencing arm pain. Our patients benefit from the expertise and skill of specialists who perform countless procedures each year while continually pioneering advances in repair and replacement. Call 707.546.1922 to schedule an appointment.