Rotator Cuff Repair

The rotator cuff aids in both lifting and rotating the arm and stabilizing the shoulder joint. A tear in the rotator cuff can cause significant shoulder pain and weakness. Though common in athletes, rotator cuff tears can also occur in non-athletes due to wear and tear over time or acute injuries. For these patients, rotator cuff repair surgery may be recommended to improve shoulder pain and function

Dr. Casey has over 20 years of experience in orthopedic surgery, including rotator cuff repair surgery. He completed his residency at Scott & White Memorial Hospital in Texas, a hospital that is well-known for completing a high volume of orthopedic procedures. He is also involved with the Community Sports Institute at Terrebonne General Medical Center (TGMC), which serves athletes throughout the Terrebonne Parish Recreation District to educate on injury prevention and provide treatment in cases of injuries.

Causes & Symptoms of Rotator Cuff Tears

Rotator cuff tears are typically caused by either a sudden injury, such as a fall onto an outstretched arm, or degenerative wear on the tendon over time. Acute rotator cuff tears can sometimes occur along with other shoulder injuries, such as a broken collarbone or shoulder dislocation.

There are several factors that can increase the likelihood of a degenerative rotator cuff tear. Repetitive shoulder motions can place extra stress on the rotator cuff, increasing the risk of a tear in the future. This is common among baseball and tennis players, weightlifters, and those whose job requires repetitive overhead lifting or shoulder motions. Bone spurs may also develop over time and rub against the rotator cuff tendon, which can weaken it.

If the rotator cuff tear happens suddenly, as with an acute injury, it will cause immediate pain. The shoulder may also become weak right after the injury occurs. While degenerative rotator cuff tears also cause shoulder pain and weakness, it is often mild at first and gradually gets worse over time.

After an examination and testing to confirm a rotator cuff tear, Dr. Casey will recommend treatment options. For degenerative rotator cuff tears, surgery is typically recommended after conservative treatments like medication, injections, and physical therapy have failed to improve symptoms. Surgery is typically recommended right away for acute tears.

Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery

Rotator cuff repair surgery typically involves re-attaching the torn tendon and removing any bone spurs that may be present in the shoulder. Dr. Casey uses arthroscopy to repair the rotator cuff.

During arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, Dr. Casey uses a small camera called an arthroscope to view the torn rotator cuff. The images from the camera allow him to guide the surgical instruments and repair the rotator cuff without making a large incision. This often leads to an easier, less painful recovery than a more traditional, open procedure.

The length of time needed to complete the procedure can vary, based on the severity and complexity of the tear. Typically, it will take at least one hour to complete, but can take as long as three hours in more severe cases. Because arthroscopic surgery is the least invasive option for rotator cuff repairs, most patients will be able to return home the same day.

Recovering from Rotator Cuff Surgery

There will be some pain during the initial recovery period, but it is typically moderate and improves soon after surgery, usually within 1-2 weeks. Pain medications are given to help with pain during the initial recovery period, and cryotherapy may also be recommended to help with pain.

Dr. Casey typically advises patients to wear a brace for 1-2 weeks after a rotator cuff repair to protect the shoulder as the tendon heals. Once the brace is removed, the patient will begin physical therapy. At this point, patients can also resume activities like driving.

Patients typically participate in physical therapy for about 12 weeks after surgery, though in some cases strength training may continue after the initial 12 weeks. Dr. Casey’s practice, Gulf Coast Orthopedics, offers physical therapy on-site for the convenience of patients. However, patients are not obligated to use the physical therapy services at the clinic.

On average, most patients fully recover about three months after surgery. Patients typically do not have long-term restrictions in their daily lives.

Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery in Houma, LA

With a practice spanning over 20 years, Dr. Brett Casey has extensive experience in rotator cuff repair surgery. Dr. Casey always seeks to offer patients the latest technologies available in orthopedic surgery, including arthroscopic rotator cuff repair surgery. He also keeps current on the latest changes in healthcare coverage, so that his treatment plans serve the patient’s needs while also meeting the requirements of the patient’s insurance plan. If you would like to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Casey for rotator cuff surgery, please call the Gulf Coast Orthopedics office at 985-262-3906 or request an appointment online.