There are now a few surgical options to repair torn rotator cuffs that are minimally invasive. The rotator cuff tendons play an important role in the shoulder joint. They allow the shoulder to rotate, they help stabilize the shoulder and they hold the shoulder down when the deltoid muscle lifts the shoulder up. Rotator cuff tears often occur after there has been wear and tear and inflammation from the resulting tendinitis.
In younger people, a rotator cuff tear can happen when engaging in a throwing sport. In older people, it can be the result of shoulder dislocation or tendinitis. Trauma can result in tears at any age. The type of surgical repair depends on several factors, including the size of your tear, your anatomy, and the quality of the tendon tissue and bone. Many surgical repairs can be done on an outpatient basis as an arthroscopic or mini-open repair. Open surgeries do require hospitalization as the incision is larger.
Rotator cuff tears may accompany other shoulder problems such as osteoarthritis, bone spurs or other soft tissue tears. One surgery may be able to repair all of these problems. Surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff most often involves re-attaching the tendon to the head of the upper arm bone. A partial tear, however, may only need a trimming or smoothing procedure called a debridement.
A complete tear within the thickest part of the tendon is repaired by stitching the two sides back together. The minimally invasive procedure involves one small incision for the arthroscope that will provide imagery to guide the surgical instruments, which enter through a second small incision. If bone spurs are discovered, they can be removed without damaging the deltoid muscle.