Rotator Cuff Repair

Angus Goetz, DO, FAOAO

Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine Specialist located in Jackson, WY

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. An injury or trauma sustained to this area, known as a rotator cuff tear, can make lifting objects or simply moving your arm extremely painful. This is a common injury for professional or recreational athletes who take part in sports that involve throwing, such as football and baseball. At his Jackson, Wyoming, practice, Dr. Angus Goetz performs rotator cuff surgery to help repair and re-strengthen the shoulder joint. If you’ve suffered a devastating shoulder injury and suspect a rotator cuff tear, call or schedule an appointment online today.

Rotator Cuff Repair Q & A

What is my rotator cuff?

Your rotator cuff is a collection of tendons and muscles around your shoulder joint. It keeps the top of your arm bone solidly in the socket of your shoulder, making it possible for you to raise and rotate your arm and shoulder.

Rotator cuff injuries can happen most commonly in individuals who perform overhead throwing, swinging, or other similar motions in recreational activities, sports, or jobs.

Football, baseball, and tennis players — as well as painters and carpenters — are examples of people with a higher risk.

Aging also makes you more susceptible to sustaining a rotator cuff injury.

If you injure your rotator cuff, it can be hard to move your arm at all, and sleeping on the affected shoulder can exacerbate your pain.

What are signs and symptoms of a rotator cuff injury?  

It isn’t always easy to tell if you’ve suffered an injured or torn rotator cuff. However, here are some common signs and symptoms to pay attention to:

  • A dull aching felt deep in your shoulder
  • Sleep disturbances caused by the pain felt on the affected shoulder
  • You find it difficult to perform everyday tasks that involve lifting your arm
  • General arm weakness

How does rotator cuff repair work?

Dr. Goetz provides surgical rotator cuff repair to alleviate severe pain, restore and enhance flexibility, and bring back function to your damaged shoulder joint.

When determining the best surgical approach, he uses diagnostic testing — known as arthroscopy — to consider many factors, including:

  • The severity of your rotator cuff tear
  • The quality of affected tendons and bone tissue
  • Your overall health and physical condition

Shoulder arthroscopy is often the method of choice.

During this minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Goetz reattaches a torn rotator cuff tendon by accessing your shoulder joint through a series of small incisions. Using live imaging from a pencil-sized camera and light fixture, he guides his surgical instruments as he repairs your shoulder.

As compared to traditional open shoulder surgery, this technique generally results in a shorter recovery, and far less inflammation, discomfort, and scarring.

What is the recovery like after rotator cuff repair?

Dr. Goetz provides a personalized physical therapy program to help you regain shoulder strength and motion and get you back to your daily activities. For at least the first 4-6 weeks, you’ll likely use a swing to keep your arm from moving.

Once you’re deemed ready, he is likely to start you on passive exercises to gradually improve your range of motion in your shoulder joint. After at least another 4-6 weeks, you progress to more active exercises, followed by a strengthening program.

In most cases, you have a functional range of motion and sufficient strength 4-6 months after surgery, with a full recovery a few months after that. The process of rehabilitation can be slow and arduous, but your commitment is key to a successful outcome.

To learn more about rotator cuff repair, call or schedule an appointment online with Dr. Goetz today.