If the rotator cuff tendons have torn, or detached from the bone, a cuff repair may be required.
Dr Duke will usually perform an arthroscopy of the shoulder to assess the damage and clean the area, followed by open surgery to repair the rotator cuff tendons. This repair may take as little as half an hour or up to three hours, depending on the extent of the tear and the difficulty of repairing it. Sutures are used to tie the tendon back down onto the bone.
Depending on the size of the tear, the wound may be as small as 2 inches or as large as 4 inches to allow access. The wound usually heals very well as it is closed with 3 - 4 layers.
The shoulder needs to be rested following the surgery and typically patients are immobilised in a sling for 6 weeks. The reason for the period of immobilisation in the sling is that the tendon needs time to heal to the bone. If the shoulder is overused or moved suddenly during the first six weeks, the sutures can break or be torn out of the bone or from the tendon. Strength does not return to the shoulder until the tendon starts to heal back onto the bone. This typically takes 6 weeks for significant healing to occur.