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Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair

With the advancement of science and technology, a procedure called arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is a minimally invasive technique compared with the conventional rotator cuff repair procedure used in the past.

Also called shoulder arthroscopy, it is a valuable way to treat rotator cuff tears. Experienced surgeons can evaluate the entire shoulder joint and fix tears through very small incisions using specially-designed instruments and devices. Large tears are particularly appropriate to arthroscopic repair because of the ability to visualize and access to the tear.

To restore normal and painless motion and full strength to the affected shoulder, the following repairs are used:

  • Débridement – where the rotator cuff tear is identified and loose, degenerated, and frayed tissue around the cuff edge is removed back to healthy tissue.
  • Mobilization – where the edge of the cuff tear is brought back to its normal position without undue tension. In larger tears, a technique called margin convergence is used.
  • Suture Anchors – when the tear is fixed into place using specially-designed devices that secure the cuff tear to the bone.

Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is performed in one of the two following ways.

ALL-ARTHROSCOPIC REPAIR

An arthroscope is a miniature camera your surgeon places into the joint of your shoulder during the repair. Your doctor creates a slight incision and guides the camera into the effected joint of your shoulder. The camera transfers images of your shoulder onto a video monitor. This allows your doctor a reference while guiding the small-scale surgical instruments designed specifically for this procedure. The arthroscope also increases the doctor’s ability to view the shoulder in significant detail while the repair is taking place. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs use small incisions versus the larger openings required for the conventional rotator cuff repair, makes this a preferred procedure for patients.

MINI-OPEN ARTHROSCOPIC ROTATOR CUFF REPAIR

A mini-open repair procedure also uses newer technology and instruments to perform a repair through a small incision. During a mini-open repair, the surgeon views the tendons of the shoulder directly and does not use a video monitor or screen.

This procedure provides the doctor the opportunity to evaluate additional damage in surrounding areas. Once the arthroscopic portion of the procedure is completed, the surgeon repairs the rotator cuff through the mini-open incision. During the tendon repair, the surgeon views the shoulder structures directly, rather than through the video monitor.

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair

All surgical rotator cuff repairs report comparable outcomes relative to pain, functional strength improvement and overall satisfaction. Arthroscopic repair is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, with following associated benefits:

  • Less anesthesia
  • Lower chance of infection
  • Outpatient versus hospital procedure
  • Quicker recovery
  • Reduced pain associated with recovery
  • Reduced scarring
  • Smaller amount of damage to soft tissue and muscles
  • Smaller incisions

Whatever your rotator cuff repair choice, it is critical that you select a surgeon who is experienced with the type of procedure, are familiar with the various techniques and instruments and who perform this surgery often. The following doctors at Florida Orthopaedic Institute specialize in arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs.

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