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Rotator Cuff Injury and its Symptoms

There are numerous causes of pain in shoulder. But the most common injury of the shoulder is a tear in the rotator cuff. Four muscles build the rotator cuff. These muscles together with the tendons make shoulder movements possible. In case that any of these muscles is torn a person will suffer from intensive pain which will be present during shoulder movements. The pain may be also present at night. If the condition is neglected for a long time the person will not be able to move the shoulder any more.

The diagnosis can be set after the doctor has performed physical examination of the shoulder. Then the X ray of the shoulder is taken. A MRI will perfectly visualize the tear if present. Since this type of tear cannot heal on its own the surgery is required in almost all the cases.

Surgery for Rotator Cuff Injury

This operation is performed in order to relieve the pain and help with the healing. It also restores the damaged function of the shoulder. The surgical procedure is performed in all those cases which are presented with weakness of shoulder muscles, limited movements and loss of function.

If injury has been rather severe the tear will be large and will not heal spontaneously. These tears are larger than 3 centimeters. During the procedure the surgeon reattach the tendon of the damaged muscle to the head of the humerus. This reattachment can be performed by different surgical techniques. The choice is made after the size of the tear and patient's anatomy is taken into consideration. No matter what technique is chosen the final result is satisfying and the patient will not feel pain any more and will be able to properly move his/ her shoulder.

There are three different approaches of rotator cuff injury repair. They include open repair, mini-open repair and arthroscopic repair.

The patient will discuss the choices and the surgeon will suggest the best surgical option in that particular case. Arthroscopic approach is done by well experienced surgeons who have performed a lot of these surgeries. Sometimes better results are achieved by open surgery.

After the surgery a patient needs to wear a sling. This aid is required only for a week. The sling helps in healing of the wound and prevents potential damage which may happen if one makes sudden and rapid shoulder movements. In large tears one is supposed to wear a brace.

Additionally, the patient has to undergo physical therapy which will improve the movements and enhance the strength of the shoulder muscles.

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