When Does a Rotator Cuff Injury Require Surgery?

Shoulder pain really puts a damper on your daily activities, even simple tasks like brushing your hair or cleaning. 

Your pain can be a result of many things, including a rotator cuff injury. Because your rotator cuff is vital to many of your daily functions, an injury can put you on the sidelines for weeks or even months. But when should you consider surgical intervention for this condition?

That’s where our skilled team of surgeons at Preva Surgicare come in to help. 

Whether you already know you have a rotator cuff injury, or you suspect something is amiss in your shoulder joint, we diagnose your problem and lay out a treatment plan tailored to you and your needs. This could involve orthopedic surgery if you’re a candidate.

Anatomy of your shoulder

Your shoulder is one of the main joints in your body, and it allows for movement of your arms. In the joint, you have four muscles that come together to form your rotator cuff. These four muscles include:

These muscles are attached to your shoulder blade and wrap around your shoulder joint to anchor to your upper arm bone, or humerus. At the humerus, the tendons attach the muscle to bone, keeping your joint together. 

Your rotator cuff makes it possible for you to lift and rotate your arm and also helps keep your shoulder joint stable.

There are other causes of rotator cuff damage, like bursitis, tendinitis, and strains due to overuse of your shoulder. Different causes may lead to different symptoms.

Symptoms of a rotator cuff injury

As with many other injuries, a rotator cuff injury most likely results in pain. But if your rotator cuff is damaged from age-related wear-and-tear, it may not be as acute as an injury. 

You might not be immediately aware that you’ve torn one of the tendons in your shoulder unless you know what to look for. 

There are several distinct symptoms that can help you to figure out if you’ve injured your rotator cuff. Some of the signs that you might notice include:

The symptoms you experience may range from mild to severe, depending on the amount of damage to the tendons in your shoulder. 

No matter how mild your symptoms may be, if you’re still having pain or decreased range of motion after a week, you should get expert care to prevent any further injury.

Why might you need surgery?

There are a lot of factors that go into the decision to undergo surgery for this condition. We usually treat your injury conservatively at first, as you can still function with a rotator cuff tear. Treatments that you can expect initially include:

Depending on the severity of your tear, one or more of the above methods may work for you. But if your pain persists despite conservative treatment, we may recommend surgery to fix the problem. 

Continued pain is the most common reason for rotator cuff repair surgery. Other reasons that you may need surgical intervention include:

We may also recommend surgical intervention if you’re active in a sport that requires a lot of use of your arm or you have a job that requires you to reach overhead much of the time. 

Ultimately, the decision to have surgery is one that you and your doctor make based on the treatment path that makes sense in the long run.

If you’ve suffered a shoulder injury and conservative treatments just aren’t making your pain better, contact us to make an appointment at one of our locations, in the Woodlands or Houston, Texas.

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