Your rotator cuff is a collection of tendons and muscles in your shoulder. This cuff helps you rotate and raise your arm. If you injure your rotator cuff, you are likely to experience discomfort and weakness in your shoulder. At Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, Arizona, we can correct this type of injury by performing a rotator cuff repair. This procedure can improve your strength and allow you to live a healthier, more active lifestyle.
What Should You Expect From a Rotator Cuff Repair?
A rotator cuff repair is a medical procedure that is designed to treat a tear in your rotator cuff. We can use an arthroscopic technique to repair this injury and improve the condition of your shoulder.
Beginning Your Procedure
We will begin by asking you to lie on your back. To ensure that you are comfortable while we repair your shoulder, we will provide you with anesthesia.
Inserting the Arthroscope
Once the anesthesia has started to work, we will create a couple of very small openings in your shoulder. We will insert a device called an arthroscope into one of these tiny openings. An arthroscope is a very small camera that will show us a video of your tissues.
Improving Your Shoulder
As we review this video, we will insert small instruments into the other openings in your shoulder. If you have fragments of a tendon or other types of debris in this area of your body, we will use these instruments to remove these items from your shoulder.
In addition to eliminating these fragments, we may remove a small amount of bone material from this part of your body. Eliminating this material from your shoulder will prevent this bone from pinching your rotator cuff.
Repairing Your Rotator Cuff
After we have corrected other issues in this area of your body, we will repair the tear in your rotator cuff. We can use several different techniques to fix this injury. For example, we might use sutures or anchors to fix this problem. If your injury is very severe, we might need to make an incision during the repair process.
Finishing Your Procedure
After we have repaired your rotator cuff, we will close up the openings in your shoulder. After we have monitored you in a recovery room, you’ll be able to go to your home in Phoenix and rest. Your arm will probably be in a sling at this point.
What Are the Symptoms of a Rotator Cuff Tear?
If you develop this type of injury, you might experience discomfort when you raise and lower your arm. In addition, you may feel a crackling sensation when you put your shoulder into specific positions. It’s also common to lose strength in your arm.
In addition to experiencing discomfort when you are moving your arm or shoulder, you might begin to have pain when you are resting. In particular, you might feel pain when you are trying to fall asleep at night. You are more likely to feel discomfort if you are lying on your injured shoulder. Although over-the-counter medications may initially reduce your symptoms, it’s common for these sensations to become worse over time.
What Factors Increase My Risk of Developing This Injury?
Your age, profession, lifestyle, and other factors can increase your chance of developing a rotator cuff injury.
Your Profession and Lifestyle
You are more likely to develop this injury if you perform repetitive motions that involve your arms. Certain jobs may require you to do activities that involve these types of movements. For example, you will have a higher chance of injuring your rotator cuff if you work as a painter or a carpenter. If you work in one of these professions, you will probably make frequent overhead motions.
Participating in certain types of sports and physical activities can also put extra stress on your rotator cuff. For example, playing tennis or baseball will require you to perform repetitive movements that could injure this part of your body. In addition, lifting weights can lead to this type of injury.
As people age, their tendons, muscles, and other parts of their bodies will become more vulnerable to injuries. In fact, this injury is most commonly diagnosed in people who are above the age of 60.
Your genetic background may increase your chance of injuring your rotator cuff. In particular, you will be more likely to experience this problem if your parents, grandparents, or other close relatives were diagnosed with this type of injury.
What Techniques Can Be Used to Diagnose My Rotator Cuff Injury?
If you have an aching shoulder, weakness in your arms, or other negative physical symptoms, you might have a rotator cuff injury. We can use a variety of techniques to diagnose this problem.
Performing a Physical Examination
When you have your initial appointment at our office in Phoenix, we will probably conduct a physical examination of your body. During this examination, we may put gentle pressure onto your shoulder. We may also test the strength in your arms and shoulders and ask you to move your arms into different positions.
In addition to examining your body, we will ask you questions about the discomfort that you are experiencing. You should be prepared to tell us when your symptoms started and describe any home remedies that you have tried. We will also need to know if certain activities make your symptoms worse. For example, you should tell us if you feel additional discomfort when you raise or lower your affected arm.
Ordering Diagnostic Tests
Under some circumstances, we may instruct you to receive diagnostic tests. For example, an ultrasound is a test that uses sound energy to make images of your muscles and tendons. This test will allow us to compare your injured tissues to the healthier areas of your body. Similarly, a magnetic resonance imaging test, commonly known as an MRI, can create a detailed image of your shoulder.
You might also need to receive an X-ray. Although an X-ray will not show a torn rotator cuff, this test can help us determine whether arthritis, bone spurs, or other types of injuries are contributing to your discomfort.
Performing an Arthroscopy
We can also learn more about your shoulder injury by performing a medical procedure called an arthroscopy. During this procedure, we will insert an arthroscope into your injured shoulder. We will use this tiny camera to examine your tendons, cartilage, and ligaments. This procedure can help us determine whether you are a good candidate for a rotator cuff repair.
Can I Use Other Methods to Fix My Rotator Cuff Injury?
In addition to receiving a procedure, you can use a variety of other methods to correct a rotator cuff injury.
If your injury is fairly minor, we may advise you to try at-home remedies before you consider receiving an invasive procedure. For example, we may instruct you to stop performing physical activities that involve your arms and shoulders for a while. In addition, we may ask you to take medication to relieve your discomfort and put ice packs on your injured area.
Going to physical therapy may be a good way to improve a rotator cuff injury. During your physical therapy sessions, you will learn stretching exercises and other movements that may improve the condition of your rotator cuff. Regularly performing these activities may decrease your discomfort and improve your ability to engage in physical activities.
Platelet-Rich Plasma Treatments
Receiving a platelet-rich plasma treatment can be a good way to heal your rotator cuff injury. During this treatment, we will draw a small sample of your blood. We will spin this sample in a centrifuge. This process will start to separate the white blood cells, platelets, and plasma in your blood. As your platelets bond with your plasma, a special platelet-rich plasma solution will be created.
We will administer this solution, which is commonly called PRP, into your injured area. As your immune system reacts to this solution, your body will begin to heal your damaged area. In particular, your body will use healing cells to reconstruct and restore your injured tissues. Over time, your rotator cuff tear will improve, and your discomfort levels will decrease.
How Should I Prepare for My Medical Procedure?
If at-home remedies and physical therapy do not fix your injury, you might need to receive a rotator cuff repair. When we schedule your medical procedure, we will tell you how to care for your shoulder during the days before your appointment.
Although you will receive a customized set of instructions, we are likely to advise you to rest your shoulder while you are waiting for your procedure. For example, we may instruct you not to engage in rigorous exercise or other activities that could aggravate your injury. In addition, we may instruct you to use ice packs to minimize your discomfort.
How Long Will My Shoulder Take to Recover?
Your age, the severity of your injury, and other factors will affect your shoulder’s reaction to this procedure. In general, you will need to adjust your behavior during the next several months.
Protecting Your Shoulder
We may advise you to put your arm in a sling and use a shoulder immobilizer for several weeks. A shoulder immobilizer is a device that will prevent your shoulder from moving during the healing process.
Going to Physical Therapy
Attending regular physical therapy sessions can help you regain strength and flexibility. During these sessions, your physical therapist can show you how to exercise and stretch your body in a safe, effective manner. It’s important to attend your sessions and follow your physical therapist’s instructions. Performing these exercises and stretches on a regular basis can shorten your recovery time and allow you to quickly return to your job or favorite sport.
Attending Follow-Up Appointments
You will need to come to our office in Phoenix for follow-up appointments. During these appointments, we will examine your arm and shoulder and talk about your comfort levels. This information will help us determine when you can safely remove your sling and shoulder immobilizer.
Fix Your Rotator Cuff
A rotator cuff injury can make it difficult for you to complete tasks at your job and enjoy sports and other physical activities. Receiving an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair can improve the condition of this part of your body. To learn whether you are a good candidate for this medical procedure, contact us at Mattalino Orthopaedic in Phoenix, Arizona to set up an initial consultation.