Should You Consider Arthroscopic Shoulder Rotator Cuff Surgery?

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Shoulder pain

By now most people have heard of a variety of minimally invasive surgical procedures, including arthroscopic knee and hip surgery. Rather than access bones and soft tissues via a large incision, a trained surgeon uses small incisions and a tiny camera to see the interior of the joint. These procedures have several advantages, including faster recoveries, reduced pain and fewer complications. These so-called “arthroscopic” procedures are usually an outpatient procedure.

Rotator cuff tears can occur as a result of a traumatic injury or as a result of wear and tear over time. Although our approach always starts with non-surgical treatments, some patients still need to have surgery to repair the tear. A repair can result in an improvement of range of motion, reduced pain and overall increased shoulder function.

Historically open surgery has been considered the “gold standard” in rotator cuff repair. As surgical techniques have been refined, more and more surgeons and their patients are choosing the minimally invasive approach. A recent study from Britain shows that patients who underwent the arthroscopic procedure for rotator cuff repairs had significantly fewer re-tear injuries after five years.

Dr. Keith Chan, one of the shoulder specialists at California Pacific Orthopaedics, states, “Our team has always championed minimally invasive techniques for shoulder cuff surgery as we have seen improved function and outcomes in our patients who have arthroscopic surgery as compared to open techniques. This recent study is the latest piece of evidence that helps validate our approach to patient care.”

Our experienced team of surgeons specialize in minimally invasive, or arthroscopic, rotator cuff surgery for even the most complex or severe tears. You may be a good candidate for rotator cuff surgery if:

  • Your symptoms have lasted 6 to 12 months
  • You have a large tear (more than 3 cm)
  • You have significant weakness and loss of function in your shoulder
  • Your tear was caused by a recent, acute injury

Whichever type of procedure you choose, your choice of surgeon is critical. Surgeon expertise is more important in achieving satisfactory results than the choice of technique.

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