How do you fix a partially torn rotator cuff?

Answered by Jeremy Urbaniak

To fix a partially torn rotator cuff, there are a few different options available. The specific treatment will depend on the severity of the tear and the individual patient’s needs. In some cases, a surgical procedure called debridement may be recommended.

Debridement is a minimally invasive procedure that involves trimming or smoothing the damaged tissue in the rotator cuff. This can help to alleviate pain and improve function in the shoulder. During the procedure, the surgeon will use small instruments to remove any frayed or torn tissue from the affected area. This can help to create a smoother surface for the tendon to glide over, reducing friction and irritation.

For more severe or complete tears, surgery to repair the tendon may be necessary. This is known as a rotator cuff repair. During this procedure, the torn tendon is re-attached to its original site on the humerus using sutures or anchors. The surgeon will make small incisions in the shoulder and use specialized instruments to access the torn tendon. The torn edges of the tendon are then brought back together and secured in place with sutures or anchors. This allows the tendon to heal and reattach to the bone.

After surgery, a period of rehabilitation and physical therapy is typically necessary to regain strength and range of motion in the shoulder. This may involve exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding the rotator cuff, as well as stretches to improve flexibility. The length and intensity of the rehabilitation program will vary depending on the individual patient and the specific details of the surgery.

It is important to note that not all partially torn rotator cuffs will require surgery. In some cases, conservative treatments such as rest, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory medications may be sufficient to manage symptoms and promote healing. However, if conservative treatments are not effective or if the tear is severe, surgery may be necessary to restore function and alleviate pain.

In my own personal experience, I had a partially torn rotator cuff that was causing significant pain and limited range of motion in my shoulder. After trying conservative treatments without success, my doctor recommended surgery to repair the tear. The procedure went smoothly, and I was able to begin rehabilitation exercises shortly after. It took several months of dedicated physical therapy, but eventually, my shoulder regained strength and mobility. Now, I am able to use my shoulder without pain and continue with my normal activities.