Rotator cuff arthroscopic surgery

Juliet De Campos, M.D.
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine
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 Q: What are the different kinds of rotator cuff injuries and how you as a surgeon determine what course of action is best for the patient?
Juliet De Campos, M.D.: The rotator cuff is a group of tendons on the top of the shoulder that lifts and rotates the arm. Any injury there can be serious. They can be small tears – or they can be large tears from injuries. Smaller tears can be treated a lot of times with physical therapy, but larger tears needs surgery. As a surgeon, after I talk with the patient and have reviewed their imaging, I will determine if they need a large repair or if they can be treated with physical therapy first. If I do surgery, it's going to be done with arthroscopic surgery, which is a micro invasive technique.
 Q: What patients can expect from the arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery?
Juliet De Campos, M.D.: Arthroscopic surgery of the shoulder is a band-aid surgery where we make small incisions and put a light into the shoulder so that we can do surgery within the space of the shoulder without a big incision. It can be done now with techniques that have been developed over the last 20 years, so that virtually everything is inside the shoulder. We use newer techniques such as absorbable sutures and anchors in the shoulder, regenerative medicine such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP), innovative rehab techniques in addition to small incisions so that the patient is able to get back to their life much sooner.
 Q: What a patient can expect postoperatively from rotator cuff surgery?
Juliet De Campos, M.D.: For a small rotator cuff tear we expect that the patient will be out of their sling in four weeks, they'll have healing between three and four months and they'll be able to return to sports specific activities after that. For a larger tear, it could be four to six months for the patient to feel normal, and for a massive tear it could take up to a year. But with appropriate rehabilitation, mobilization and a good attitude, the patients are going to do great after arthroscopic rotator cuff repair.


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