Rotator Cuff Surgery in Atlanta, GA & Surrounding Areas

If you're suffering from a rotator cuff tear—a common condition causing discomfort and weakness in the shoulder — rotator cuff surgery might be the solution. Our skilled rotator cuff specialists can restore these important tendons so that you can regain your strength and range of motion. Read on to explore the details of this procedure, its benefits, and the recovery process.

What Is Rotator Cuff Repair?

Rotator cuff repair surgery is a procedure that addresses the effects of a torn rotator cuff tendon. The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that play a crucial role in stabilizing and facilitating the movement of the shoulder joint. When these tendons sustain damage, either due to sudden trauma or gradual wear and tear, it can lead to pain, weakness, and restricted mobility in the shoulder.

Rotator cuff surgery primarily involves reattaching the tendon to its original position on the humerus, the upper arm bone. This surgery can be performed using different techniques. Most are done with shoulder arthroscopy, which involves smaller incisions and specialized instruments for precise repair. More severe cases might require open surgery, which requires a larger incision. The goal of a rotator cuff repair procedure is to restore shoulder function and flexibility, alleviate pain that hasn't responded to other treatments, and enhance overall quality of life.

Successful rotator cuff repair surgery can lead to significant improvements in pain relief and functional recovery, enabling individuals to regain their ability to lift their arms and perform daily tasks without pain or discomfort.

Types of Rotator Cuff Surgery

When it comes to addressing rotator cuff tears, modern surgical advancements offer various options to cater to your specific needs. These techniques were designed to stimulate tendon repair and restore shoulder function.

Three primary techniques are commonly employed for rotator cuff surgery: traditional open repair, arthroscopic repair, and mini-open repair. Let's explore these options and how they can provide solutions tailored to your individual health needs:

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair

Rotator cuff arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that diagnoses and repairs rotator cuff tendons. During this procedure, a small incision is made in the shoulder, through which an arthroscope, a tiny camera, is inserted. This allows the surgeon to see the interior of the shoulder joint in real time. By doing so, they can accurately identify any issues, such as tears or inflammation in the rotator cuff tendons.

Once the problem is identified, the surgeon will reattach torn tendons or remove damaged tissue. Arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery offers the advantage of smaller incisions, less postoperative pain, and quicker recovery times compared to traditional open surgery, making it a preferred choice for many patients with rotator cuff problems.

Open Rotator Cuff Repair

Technique In cases of larger or more intricate tears, traditional rotator cuff repair may be employed. This technique requires a surgical incision several centimeters long, strategically placed over the shoulder. Then, one of the shoulder muscles (the deltoid) is carefully moved aside to provide optimal visibility and access to the torn tendon.

During an open rotator cuff surgery, the surgeon often performs an acromioplasty, which involves the removal of bone spurs from the underside of the acromion (the highest point in the shoulder bone). This additional step contributes to enhancing the surgical outcome. Open rotator cuff repair remains a suitable choice when dealing with sizable or complex tears, or when circumstances warrant supplementary interventions like tendon transfers.

Mini-Open Rotator Cuff Repair Technique

Mini-open rotator cuff repair involves small incisions and specialized instruments, with a minimally larger incision for more complex repairs. This allows surgeons to inspect, repair, and restore more damaged tendons while minimizing the procedure's invasiveness.

The distinct benefit of the mini-open approach becomes evident during the tendon repair phase. By transitioning from the arthroscopic portion to the mini-open incision, the surgeon gains direct visualization of the shoulder structures, enhancing the accuracy of the repair process. This technique combines the benefits of arthroscopic and open procedures, resulting in minimized post-operative discomfort, reduced scarring, and quicker recovery times.

Why Is Rotator Cuff Repair Performed?

Rotator cuff repair is a solution for people with shoulder pain or difficulty moving their arm due to a damaged rotator cuff. Your Resurgens doctor will only suggest surgery if other treatments like physical therapy don't improve your condition. If the torn rotator cuff is decreasing your quality of life, getting surgery might help you get moving again.

Rotator cuff surgery can be a good idea if you:

  1. Injured your rotator cuff directly.
  2. Have bone spurs or swelling around your rotator cuff.
  3. Have been struggling with debilitating shoulder pain for over six months.
  4. Have a worn-out shoulder from arthritis.
  5. Have issues with shoulder stability.
  6. Have limited range of motion in the shoulder.

How To Prepare For Rotator Cuff Surgery

Your Resurgens physician will walk you through the procedure details and encourage you to ask any questions you might have. You'll need to give your permission by signing a consent form, so take your time to read it carefully, and don't hesitate to seek clarification if needed.

Before the procedure, your rotator cuff specialist will want to ensure you're in good health. This involves a thorough physical exam, blood tests, and other diagnostic checks. Be sure to let them know if you have any sensitivities or allergies to medicines, latex, tape, or anesthesia. Also let them know about any medications you're taking, including herbal supplements.

If you have a history of bleeding disorders or take blood-thinning medications, aspirin, or other drugs that affect clotting, your healthcare provider will recommend stopping these before the procedure.

To ensure a smooth recovery, consider these steps to prepare your home:

  1. Arrange loose-fitting clothes, especially front-buttoning or zip-up shirts, for easier dressing.
  2. Have extra pillows on hand for added comfort while resting.
  3. Clear pathways at home to avoid tripping hazards.
  4. Consider bathroom accessories like a shower seat, grab bar, or detachable shower head for bathing.
  5. Plan for assistance with meals and household tasks from a caregiver, friend, or family member.
  6. Organize transportation alternatives, as driving is discouraged for the initial six weeks after surgery.
  7. Keep frequently used items within easy reach to prevent overexerting your arm.
  8. Stock up on essentials like toiletries and pre-made meals before the procedure to avoid post-surgery tasks.

By preparing your home and understanding what to expect, you'll be better equipped for a smoother procedure and recovery period. The team at Resurgens comprises the best rotator cuff surgeons in Atlanta, dedicated to getting you the best possible outcome.

What Happens During Rotator Cuff Surgery?

The procedure for rotator cuff repair involves several important stages to the restoration of the shoulder. Here's what you can expect during the surgery:

  1. Preparation: You'll be asked to change into a gown and or experts will administer general anesthesia through an IV. You'll be positioned on the operating table, and the anesthesiologist will monitor vital signs like your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen levels throughout the surgery.
  2. Sterilization: The surgical site will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution to ensure a sterile environment for the procedure.
  3. Incision: The surgeon will make an incision in the shoulder area. The size and location of the incision will depend on the type of surgery planned—whether it's open surgery, arthroscopy, or a combination of both.
  4. Arthroscopic Approach: If arthroscopy is used, a specialized camera called an arthroscope will be inserted through the incision. This allows the surgeon to visually assess the area and guide the procedure.
  5. Tool Insertion: Additional incisions may be made to introduce small tools such as grasping, probing, or cutting instruments. These tools are used to manipulate and repair the injured tendons and muscles.
  6. Tendon Repair: The damaged tendons and muscles of the rotator cuff will be meticulously repaired. Sometimes, a graft tendon from another part of the body may be used as a replacement.
  7. Bone Spur Removal: If there are bone spurs present, they will be removed to ensure smooth joint movement.
  8. Closure: Once the necessary repairs have been made, the incisions will be closed using stitches or surgical staples. This step helps secure the repaired tissues and promote proper healing.
  9. Dressing and Bandage: A sterile dressing or bandage will be applied to protect the incision site as it heals.

What Are The Risks Of Rotator Cuff Surgery?

Like any surgical procedure, complications after rotator cuff surgery are possible. These rotator cuff surgery complications include, but are not limited to:

  • Bleeding and infection
  • Blood clots
  • Limited pain relief and range of motion
  • Nerve or blood vessel injury
  • Other medical risks
  • Anesthesia-related risks
  • Nerve damage
  • Infection
  • Stiffness
  • Repair rupture

Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery

Following the surgery, you'll be taken to the recovery room for observation. Your recovery experience will depend on the type of anesthesia you're given and the nature of your procedure. The circulation and sensation in your arm will be closely monitored. Once your vitals stabilize, and you're alert, you'll either be transferred to your hospital room or discharged to your home.

You will receive an immobilizer or sling before leaving the medical facility. At home, it's important to keep the surgical area clean and dry according to specific instructions from your healthcare provider. The stitches or surgical staples will be removed during a follow-up appointment.

To manage discomfort, your healthcare provider will recommend the appropriate pain relievers. It's important to follow their guidance, as certain pain medicines like aspirin can increase the risk of bleeding. Applying ice to the shoulder several times daily during the initial days after your surgery can help reduce swelling.

Typically, patients wear their sling for two to three weeks and start physical therapy within a week after surgery. The therapy usually spans three to four months, with strengthening exercises beginning after the initial 6- to 10-week healing phase. Physical therapy is important to help you regain strength and range of motion in your shoulder. Your rotator cuff specialist may give you exercises like these to aid the recovery process, and let you know how often you should be doing these exercises at home.

Recovering from rotator cuff surgery involves the tendon attaching to the bone, taking about six to eight weeks. Rotator cuff surgery recovery depends on the size and severity of the injury. Small tears take around four months, large tears around six months, and severe or massive tears can take 6 to 12 months for complete recovery.

Around 12 weeks post-surgery, many patients can resume most activities, but strenuous sports might be restricted for four to six months. The goal is to regain full range of motion and strength before rigorous activities are performed.

At Resurgens Orthopaedics, we're dedicated to supporting you through a successful recovery and helping you regain optimal shoulder function and comfort. If you're dealing with shoulder pain or a rotator cuff injury, our team of skilled rotator cuff specialists at Resurgens Orthopaedics is ready to assist you. With personalized care and advanced treatments, we're here to guide your recovery journey. Reach out today to schedule a consultation with Atlanta's best orthopedic surgeons for rotator cuff surgery.

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