- Wrist & Hand
Rotator Cuff Repairs
The Rotator Cuff is the name given to the four tendons that encase the shoulder and are involved in its movement. Rotator cuff tears cause pain and a lack of movement of the shoulder, especially lifting the hand above shoulder height.
Tearing of these tendons is common and may occur acutely, for example after an injury (such as a fall onto the shoulder), or chronically, due to repetitive movements which over time, create many small tears in the tendon which aggregate to eventually defunction the shoulder. These small "micro" tears in tendon sometimes lead to calcium being deposited in the tendons, called calcific tendinopathy. Treatment aims to remove the calcium deposits using keyhole surgery (arthroscopy). This can be achieved by partially opening the tendon arthroscopically and removing the calcium deposits. The calcium is a marker than the tendon has been under stress for some time and hence when removed, there may be a significant underlying tear.
The main symptoms that tears in the tendon generate are pain and a lack of movement of the shoulder, especially when attempting to lift the hand above shoulder height.
A procedure know as an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair involves reattaching the torn tendons back to the bone with a combination of sutures (stitches) and specially designed dissolvable plastic anchors that hold the tendon in the bone. Following the procedure it will take a number of months for the tendon to re-bond to the bone, so you will be advised to rest the arm in a sling for one month, and then undergo a guided physiotherapy programme.