Does My Rotator Cuff Tear Require Surgery?

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Does My Rotator Cuff Tear Require Surgery?

The soft tissue capsule that supports and stabilizes the shoulder — the rotator cuff — frequently experiences injury, particularly as you get older. Fortunately, rotator cuff tears rarely require surgery. Read on to learn more.

Composed of four muscles and their accompanying tendons, the rotator cuff encloses the head of the upper bone of your arm, holding the shoulder joint together. The rotator cuff allows the shoulder its extensive range of movement and strength, but because of the complex nature of the shoulder sockets, muscles and tendons experience greater stress than those in other joints. 

Rotator cuff tears are common shoulder injuries, but surgery isn’t usually necessary. When you have a shoulder disorder, you need a specialist like Scott Ellsworth, MD, located in Leawood and Merriam, Kansas. As an expert in the treatment of rotator cuff tears, Dr. Ellsworth guides you through the recovery process, from conservative care to minimally invasive surgery for complete tears. 

Wear-and-tear on the rotator cuff

Most people experience rotator cuff tears at some point in their lives yet most aren’t aware. Others, particularly people with jobs where their arms are frequently elevated above their heads, can incur more significant and frequent tears because of repetitive strain. Acute shoulder injuries, such as during sports participation or car accidents, are more likely to cause complete tears. 

However, 65% of people with advanced rotator cuff tears are symptom-free. Partial tears are far more common, and these too may not produce symptoms. You’re also more likely to experience rotator cuff tears as you get older. 

When rotator cuffs cause trouble

Shoulder pain and reduced range of motion are signs your rotator cuff tear is a problem. In the early stages of pain, rest, cold and hot compresses, and over-the-counter pain relief may be enough to facilitate recovery. But If you’ve been living with shoulder pain for three months or more without improvement, schedule a consultation with Dr. Ellsworth. 

Without treatment, rotator cuff tears can worsen, increasing pain while restricting shoulder movement. Dr. Ellsworth may order diagnostic imaging to determine the extent of your injury while adding treatments like immobilization, physical therapy, or injection therapy. 

Does my rotator cuff tear require surgery? 

When you achieve improvements with conservative care, you likely won’t need surgery to fix your shoulder. But when your pain persists, surgery becomes an option. Forceful injuries to the shoulder tend to require surgery more often, and some rotator cuff tears have an increased chance of deteriorating over time. Dr. Ellsworth may also recommend surgical repair if you’re younger with healthy tendon tissue. 

Whenever possible, Dr. Ellsworth chooses arthroscopic techniques to repair rotator cuff tears. As a minimally invasive procedure, arthroscopic surgery creates less damage to surrounding tissue when compared with conventional techniques. That means you will heal faster and with less pain. 

Each rotator cuff injury is different, so find the treatment options that match your condition during a visit with Dr. Ellsworth. Contact the nearest office by phone or online to book your session today.