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This page explains what is involved in rotator cuff shoulder surgery. If you would like further information after reading it, please ask your GP or medical health professional.
The four muscles and tendons that anchor your arm to your shoulder blade are known as the rotator cuff (see figure 1). Injuries that affect the rotator cuff include impingement or tearing.
The rotator cuff in a left shoulder
a Viewed from the front
b Viewed from the back
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The shoulders of patients who have rotator cuff surgery are generally more mobile and less painful.
Yes, unless there is a large tear when an operation might be the only option, you might consider alternatives such as:
Surgery takes three quarters of an hour to an hour and the patient is anaesthetised.
The surgeon will operate on the tissue and bone using keyhole surgery (arthroscopy), in the case of impingement. Open surgery might be necessary to repair larger rotator cuff damage, when stitching into the bone secures the repair.
You should be able to go home within 48 hours, usually the same day.
Your stitches or any clips used to secure the wound will be removed in about a week.
Normal activity levels will usually be possible but might take up to a year with regular exercise. Consult your GP or healthcare professional before resuming exercise after the operation.
Sometimes symptoms of shoulder damage might return or your damaged shoulder might not be as strong as before.
Surgery can help to reduce the pain and weakness of a damaged shoulder.
EIDO Healthcare Limited – The operation and treatment information on this website is produced using information from EIDO Healthcare Ltd and is licensed by Aspen Healthcare.
The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.