Health Hour

Everything you should know about arthroscopic rotator cuff repair

The shoulder joint in the human body is surrounded by a group of muscles and tendons, which constitutes the rotator cuff. It helps the head of the upper arm bone in keeping up with the shallow socket of the shoulder.

An injury in the rotator cuff can cause a dull ache in patient’s shoulder. Dr Ashwani Maichand, a leading orthopaedist in Delhi, highlighted that the symptoms of the injury depends on its severity.

Some common symptoms are:

  • Stiffness or weakness in the injured shoulder
  • Difficulty sleeping on the involved side because of the pain
  • An intense pain in the shoulder when raising or lowering the arm
  • Discomfort and pain when pressure is put on the affected shoulder

Injuries in the rotator cuff can occur for various reasons:

  • Repetitive strain
  • Activities that require repeated overhand motions
  • Sudden and forceful arm movements
  • Years of wear and tear.

Dr Maichand explains that not all injuries require surgeries. It is only advised in cases where a person have had symptoms from months, no improvement has happened with non-surgical treatment, or when he/she is suffering from a severe rotator cuff tear.

Usually, an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery is recommended in case of severe rotator cuff injury. In an arthroscopy, a camera is inserted through a small incision, in order to look at the interior of a joint. The image on the camera is transmitted to a screen, so that an orthopaedic surgeon can examine the joint closely.

Amongst all the surgical repairs, arthroscopic repair is the least invasive. Under this, three to four small incisions are made near the shoulder joint in the upper arm. An anthroscope is inserted through one incision, and others are used to insert small surgical tools. The orthopaedist uses the camera image to control the surgical tools and repair the damage.

Dr Ashwani Maichand says that arthroscopic rotator cuff repair offers numerous benefits over traditional open shoulder surgery. These include:

  • Less postoperative pain
  • Fewer complications
  • Faster recovery

Dr Maichand says that rehabilitation and proper healing may take time. However, patients treated through arthroscopic procedure can continue their work, daily activities or even athletics post-surgery. Generally, arthroscopic rotator cuff repair involves a recovery period of several months.

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