When Surgery is the Best Solution to Your Rotator Injury

Nov 04, 2022

When Surgery is the Best Solution to Your Rotator Injury

Is your shoulder causing you pain and stiffness that won’t improve? Find out whether or not you could be a good candidate for surgery to resolve your symptoms.

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that support your shoulder joint, allowing it to stay attached to your shoulder socket. The shoulder joint is the most flexible in the body, but it’s also the most likely to get injured or become dislocated. 

With age, overuse can cause rotator cuff injuries, which usually manifest as stiffness and pain that worsens at night. Certain jobs that require you to engage in repetitive overhead movements, such as painting and construction, may increase your risk of shoulder injuries. 

Surgery is often the last resort, but in certain cases, only surgical intervention can provide relief. Dr. Andrew D. Pearle, based in the Upper East Side in New York City and White Plains, New York, explains when surgery is the best way to treat a rotator cuff injury. 

Rotator cuff injury symptoms 

Common symptoms included a dull pain in the shoulder, stiffness, difficulty reaching behind the back, and weakness in the arm and shoulder. Symptoms are usually managed by icing the shoulder, resting, or participating in physical therapy. 

Dr. Pearle may recommend surgery if the rotator cuff injury is due to trauma or if the symptoms in the shoulder don’t improve within three to six months of conservative treatments. 

In the case of trauma, surgical repair of the tendon is a must, because left unhealed, the tendon can cause muscle loss and weakness in the shoulder. 

Understanding rotator cuff surgery options 

The goal of the surgery is to repair a torn ligament in the shoulder. Dr. Pearle uses either an open incision or smaller incisions through which he guides an arthroscope, a tube with a camera, to inspect the area and allow the repair of the tendon in a more precise manner. 

Dr. Pearle uses an arthroscope to repair rotator cuff injuries, as there’s a decreased risk for bleeding and infections, and there’s less scarring. You can return home a few hours after the surgery. However, it may take a while for the anesthesia to wear off. 

During recovery, you often wear a splint. Expect to experience some pain and swelling for a few days after the surgery, but Dr. Pearle provides medication and instructions to make your recovery as comfortable as possible. 

Within four to six weeks, you can remove the splint and move into the next step of recovery: physical therapy. 

Get expert advice on your rotator cuff injury 

If your shoulder is causing you uncomfortable symptoms, contact us to schedule an appointment at our office in Upper East Side & White Plains, New York City. Dr. Pearle will examine your shoulder and let you know what treatment option is best for managing your symptoms.