Rotator cuff injuries are among the most common causes of shoulder discomfort. While many rotator cuff tears respond well to conservative therapies, surgery may be needed to fully resolve symptoms and restore shoulder function in some cases. Patients considering surgical rotator cuff repair should be well informed about what the procedure and its recovery process entail. Read on for a detailed overview of rotator cuff surgery: what to expect if your orthopedic physician determines that you are a good candidate and you elect to have the procedure.
Rotator Cuff Surgery: What to Expect During and After the Procedure
- The day of surgery – The surgeon will provide preoperative instructions to prepare for rotator cuff surgery. The procedure is typically done under general anesthesia in an outpatient setting. It may take up to a few hours, depending on the severity of the tear and the extent of repair work needed. Once the surgery is complete, the operated arm is placed into a sling, and the patient is moved to a postoperative recovery room. Generally, patients are able to return home the same day.
- The days after surgery – In the days following rotator cuff surgery, it is normal to experience pain and swelling in the shoulder region. Pain relievers, intermittent icing and resting with the arm in an elevated position can help ease any discomfort.
- The weeks after surgery – To avoid buildup of scar tissue and inflammation, use of the operated arm should be limited for the first 4-6 weeks after surgery. Generally speaking, patients are able to remove their sling and begin physical therapy around this time. Performing physical therapy exercises as instructed is crucial to regain shoulder strength & mobility and prevent reinjury.
- The months after surgery – While every patient’s rehabilitation timeline will be slightly different, most recover within 4-6 months. Ultimately, the severity of the patient’s injury and their body’s natural healing rate will dictate how long it takes to return to normal activities after surgical rotator cuff repair.
For patients deciding whether to undergo rotator cuff surgery, what to expect during and after the procedure is pertinent information. Knowing what to anticipate will help you make an educated choice and set you up for a successful recovery.
Find the Right Shoulder Treatment for You with Dr. Soffer
A rotator cuff injury can greatly impact a patient in their day-to-day life. If you suspect that you may have a torn rotator cuff, it is vital to seek prompt treatment in order to avoid worsening injury. Patients in the Reading, PA area count on Dr. Stephen Soffer for world-class shoulder care with a personalized approach.
Specializing in minimally invasive arthroscopic rotator cuff repair as well as nonsurgical treatment methods, Dr. Soffer will recommend the most appropriate course of treatment for your unique case. To request an appointment with him, contact our office at 610-375-4949. We look forward to helping you resolve your shoulder issue so that you can get back to doing what you love.