A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and four tendons in the shoulder joint that allows the shoulder to both move freely and remain in place. A rotator cuff tear occurs when a muscle or tendon in the rotator cuff is torn.
As is most often the case, a torn rotator cuff involves the tendons. The tendons of the rotator cuff can be torn either partially or completely. Signs of a torn rotator cuff include:
- Shoulder pain
- Pain when moving the shoulder
- Shoulder tenderness
- Shoulder weakness
- Decreased range of motion in the shoulder
- Difficulty moving the shoulder
If you are among the estimated two million adults that suffer from these injuries on average each year, you should contact an experienced orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Meier who can provide treatment, which often involves an arthroscopic shoulder procedure.
The shoulder is a very important joint, and you will want it to heal correctly and in as timely a manner as possible. Contact Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine today at 310.736.2793 to find out more information on orthopedic services and sports medicine.
The shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint: The ball, or head, of your upper arm bone fits into a shallow socket in your shoulder blade. Your shoulder joint is made up of three bones:
- Upper arm bone (humerus)
- Shoulder blade (scapula)
- Collarbone (clavicle)
What is the Rotator Cuff?
The rotator cuff is a network of four ligaments that attach the humerus and shoulder blade together. The network of four ligaments allows the shoulder to move freely while keeping the shoulder in place.
The shoulder joint’s unique structure allows for nearly unrestrained positioning and rotation of the arm in many directions and planes. However, the price of the shoulder’s great mobility is that it can easily be injured if one is not careful.
How do you know if you have injured your shoulder? Many patients feel a pop, a sensation of pain, weakness, swelling, and inability to move the arm after injuring their shoulder.
When should you see a doctor?
If you have decreased mobility and pain for more than three to seven days, you should call Dr. Meier. Certain ball and socket injuries can lead to more serious conditions if left untreated.
Treatment for Rotator Cuff Tears
Treatment for rotator cuff tears depends on several factors, including the patient’s age and the severity of the tear. Remember, that this orthopedic injury can be partially torn or completely torn.
The most common treatments for torn rotator cuffs include:
- Injections of corticosteroids
- Rest and physical therapy
- Rotator cuff surgery
- Shoulder replacement surgery
When the rotator cuff is severely damaged or torn, surgical repair might be necessary. At Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine, our orthopedic surgeons usually utilize an arthroscopic shoulder procedure to repair torn rotator cuffs.
Learn more about the rotator cuff from WebMD.com.
Arthroscopic Shoulder Joint Repair
Arthroscopic procedures are commonly used to treat orthopedic injuries and conditions. When compared to traditional open surgery, arthroscopic surgery is less invasive, requires less heal time, causes less blood loss, and is less painful than open surgical techniques. In addition to repairing injuries, arthroscopic procedures can inspect and diagnose problems inside a joint.
Dr. Meier also uses shoulder arthroscopy to treat the following conditions:
- Impingement Syndrome
- Shoulder Instability
Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery is typically done on an outpatient basis at a nearby outpatient surgery center in Beverly Hills known as La Peer Health Systems. The entire operation is done through small incisions and seen through a TV monitor. At the close of the procedure, Dr. Meier will have reattached the rotator cuff to the humerus bone and removed or repaired any damaged tissue.
The procedure begins with two or three small incisions in the area around the joint. Inside one of the incisions, an arthroscope (a long slender tube with a light and camera attached at the end that connects to a TV monitor in the operating room) is inserted. Orthopedists use the video on the monitor to inspect the shoulder joint to determine the exact extent of the injury.
If the surgeon sees any additional tears in the muscle, tendon or cartilage in the shoulder then they will be repaired using tiny surgical instruments that can be placed into the other small incisions. Damaged tissue can be repaired or removed depending on the severity of the injury.
Patients go home the same day of surgery before beginning a rehabilitation program that could last anywhere from four to six months. The duration of time until a full recovery is made depends on individual circumstances. Some people recover in four to six months, while others take longer to fully recover.
Contact our Orthopedic Surgeon in Beverly Hills
Steven Meier, MD is one of the world’s foremost experts in arthroscopic shoulder surgery. Each year, he takes at least one trip across the globe to teach his surgical methods to doctors in developing countries. Luckily, he also performs his surgery on patients in Beverly Hills, California.
To schedule an appointment with one of the best orthopedic surgeons in Los Angeles, contact Meier Orthopedic Sports and Regenerative Medicine today at 310.736.2793 or fill out the website contact form and a member of our staff will contact you shortly. We look forward to treating your injury.
Next, read about how Dr. Meier performs an arthroscopic shoulder decompression treatment.