Rotator Cuff Repair

The rotator cuff in your shoulder is strong and elastic, providing you with an extended range of motion. If you overstretch it, though, the result can be a painful tear and loss of function in your shoulder. If this happens to you, Ashvin K. Dewan, MD in Sugar Land, Texas, can help. Fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon Dr. Dewan provides nonsurgical therapies to treat mild rotator cuff damage, as well as minimally invasive rotator cuff repair surgery if you have a severely torn rotator cuff. Call the practice today to find out more or book an appointment online.

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Rotator Cuff Repair Q & A

What is the rotator cuff?

Your rotator cuff enables you to move your shoulder in many directions. It's a system of muscles and connective tissues that keeps the top of your upper arm bone (humerus) firmly seated in the socket (glenoid) in your shoulder blade (scapula).

The rotator cuff makes your shoulder the most mobile of all the joints in your body. While this means you can use your arms in multiple ways, it also makes your shoulder joint more vulnerable to injury than the less movable joints.

What is a rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear occurs if the tendons in your rotator cuff get stretched too far. Tendons attach muscles to bones, but if the fibers that make up the tendons separate, the end of the affected tendon comes away from your humerus.

Rotator cuff tears are common, because of your shoulder joint’s extensive range of motion. These injuries cause pain and weakness in the affected shoulder and arm.

It's also not unusual to dislocate your shoulder partially or fully or fracture your collarbone (clavicle) when you suffer a rotator cuff tear.

What causes rotator cuff tears?

Rotator cuff tears are a common type of sports injury. They can also happen if you fall on your arm when it's outstretched, or use a sudden, jerking movement when lifting heavy objects.

Degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis can irritate your rotator cuff, leading to the growth of bone spurs. These little bony growths cause a disorder called shoulder impingement, which can prevent you from moving your arm normally.

These types of degenerative changes are more likely to be a problem for people who use their shoulders frequently to make repetitive movements. Participating in sports like rowing, baseball, tennis, weightlifting, and gymnastics can lead to degenerative changes and cause rotator cuff tears.

How are rotator cuff tears treated?

Treating rotator cuff tears correctly is important because without proper treatment, your shoulder is likely to get worse. To begin with, Dr. Dewan uses conservative approaches when treating rotator cuff tears, such as:

  • Rest and activity modification
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Physical therapies
  • Anti-inflammatory cortisone injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections

In most cases, these approaches result in healing and resolution of your symptoms.

However, if the damage is too extensive, or your shoulder isn’t improving, Dr. Dewan can discuss surgical options with you. For rotator cuff tears, he uses minimally invasive arthroscopic techniques, which promote faster healing and an earlier return to normal activities.

Dr. Dewan also enhances the recovery process by using regenerative medicine techniques such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy and stem cell therapy to accelerate healing and promote new tissue growth.

If a shoulder problem like a rotator cuff tear is causing you problems, call Ashvin K. Dewan, MD today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.