Rotator Cuff Repair

Rotator Cuff Repair

Rotator Cuff Repair


The goal of rotator cuff surgery is to repair the rotator cuff to its anatomic insertion into the greater tuberosity. Historically, this was done through an open incision and the rotator cuff was repaired via bone tunnels.

Now, with the advent of new technological advances, most rotator cuffs can be repaired arthroscopically with 3-4 0.5 centimeter incisions, rather than a large incision.

This has lead to quicker recovery and better patient satisfaction.

During arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, anchors are used (see image to the left). These anchors are dissolvable screws that have sutures attached to them. These placed into the roatator cuff footprint and the sutures are passed throught the rotator cuff and then tied down to the tuberosity.

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair


Full recovery after rotator cuff surgery can be approximately 6-12 months from the time of surgery. However, most patient are very functional much sooner than this. The key to success after rotator cuff surgery is to allow the rotator cuff to biologically heal to the footprint before stressing it. This can take anywhwere from 10-12 weeks. As a result, protecting the repair for the first 3 months is crucial.

recovery typically is as follows:

  • Patients wear a sling for approximately 6 weeks.
  • Patietns are allowed to come out of the sling for elbow, wrist, and hand range of motion exercises right away.
  • waist level activities are allowed as long as no lifting anything heavier than a coffee cup for the first 10 weeks.
  • Patients can drive when they feel comfortable, safe and are off narcotic pain medicine.
  • Thereapy starts sometime between 4-6 weeks. Therapy will focus purely on stretching up to 10-12 weeks. strengthening after 12 weeks.
  • Allowed to lift without restrictions approximately 4.5 months after surgery.