Outpatient Shoulder Surgery Can Give Your Swing Its Bite Back.
When it comes to shoulder injuries we tend to wait and delay treatment hoping things will improve on their own. While minor injuries will get better with some rest and common-sense restrictions, others will benefit from early diagnosis and intervention. Rotator cuff injuries fall into that category.
The rotator cuff muscles are a set of four deep muscles seating immediately adjacent to your shoulder joint. They have the role of not only moving your arm, but more importantly, to keep the humerus head perfectly centered on the rather shallow socket of the shoulder blade. Rotator cuff impingement or tears can be very debilitating. They can occur suddenly such as during a fall, car crash or lifting injuries, or they can progress gradually with repetitive motion injuries or when bone spurs erode and damage the tendon until it eventually fails and ruptures.
Once the tendon is torn off the bone, the muscle it attaches to will pull it away from its insertion point, much like a rubber band that snaps, preventing it from healing. The human body has a tremendous capacity for adaptation and can compensate for a small tear to the point that you seemingly recover full motion and near full strength. However the rotator cuff unit will remain incomplete and such deficiencies may ultimately limit your ability to perform certain tasks and high demand sports. It may also make you more prone to reinjury.
Non-surgical management will not reattach the torn tendon but help you compensate for its lack of normal function. Studies that have looked into the benefit of surgical repair have argued that because of the high rate of failure in cases of older patients, it is preferable to just proceed with conservative management because in the end the result will remain “acceptable” for most. The potential downside of conservative management is that once a tear is allowed to remain displaced, the muscle connected to that tendon will usually shrink and atrophy and the tendon tissue itself will change by gradual scarring and attrition making future repairs more difficult and possibly less successful.
Fortunately, rotator cuff repair techniques continue to evolve. Most shoulder tendon surgery is performed arthroscopically, that is through very small incisions using high-definition fiberoptic cameras. New technologies and implants have been created to be used arthroscopically. One such new technologies is the ability to easily supplement weak rotator cuff tissue with collagen grafts that will reinforce and protect the repair. This enhancement can be particularly beneficial for those tears associated with chronic degradation of the tissue quality due to age.
At The Orthopedic Center we are excited to be able to offer you a complete array of rotator cuff treatment techniques. These include conservative management for partial tears and advanced surgical options for complete or near complete ruptures. Most surgical treatments are arthroscopic, so you get to go home the same day. In fact arthroscopic shoulder surgery has become the de facto standard for rotator cuff repairs.
The benefits of arthroscopic surgery are many, but primarily it affords less pain and quicker recovery while giving the surgeon a much better visualization and access to the inside of your joint. Following your surgery, and just as important, will be your physical therapy program. The Orthopedic Center has on-site experienced physical therapists that closely work with your surgeon to make sure that the therapy program is tailored to your specific problem and surgery.
If your shoulder remains painful after an injury or if you have suffered with shoulder pain and stiffness for several months, call The Orthopedic Center where our fellowship trained physicians will provide you with an accurate diagnosis and the most appropriate and timely treatment plan to give your swing its bite back.