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Rotator Cuff Surgery

Physicians at Virginia Mason Sports Medicine specialize in treating a wide variety of injuries to the rotator cuff, the group of muscles and tendons surrounding the shoulder joint. Rotator cuff injuries are very common and can include:

  • Tendon pain
  • Partial tendon tears
  • Full thickness rotator cuff tears

Symptoms of rotator cuff problems are:

  • Shoulder pain, especially at night
  • Weakness
  • Loss of normal shoulder motion

To speak with a sports medicine physician about an injury to your rotator cuff, call (206) 341-3000.

Diagnosing a Rotator Cuff Problem

The first step toward proper treatment of a rotator cuff problem is a comprehensive shoulder exam. This involves your physician looking at motion, strength and overall shoulder function. Depending on what this exam shows, further testing may be advised and could include a shoulder X-ray and possibly an MRI.

Once we determine the type of rotator cuff injury that you have, we will discuss the many successful treatment options available. Expert advice on treatment from your physician, appropriate medication, and working with a physical therapist are often all that is needed to regain full function. Surgery, however, may be recommended if the injury is one that will not improve otherwise or has not improved with non-surgical treatments. All treatment options will be explained and discussed with you before any decision is made.

Surgery for a Rotator Cuff Injury

Virginia Mason's sports medicine surgeons are experts in the latest techniques in rotator cuff surgery. Minimally invasive or arthroscopic surgery is the most common way to treat a rotator cuff problem. Depending on the situation, the surgery usually takes less than one hour and you will return home the same day. Our highly trained surgical team is skilled at making the entire procedure as relaxed and comfortable as possible.

The Virginia Mason Difference in Anesthesiology

Joint surgery can be very painful when traditional methods of pain control are used. Virginia Mason anesthesiologists, however, are employing new approaches designed to reduce pain and promote a faster recovery with fewer complications.

Your anesthesiologist will explain what will happen before, during and after surgery and answer any questions you may have.

After Rotator Cuff Surgery

You will return home the same day as your surgery. A simple arm sling and soft bandage over the small surgical site is all that is required. Medication given to you by your surgeon and anesthesiologist will keep you comfortable until your first return visit to the Sports Medicine clinic. In a few days you will begin working with an experienced shoulder therapist. If a repair was performed, a sling will be needed for four to six weeks. Virginia Mason surgeons and therapists will assist you throughout your rehabilitation. Our goal is to return your shoulder to normal as quickly as possible.

Questions About Rotator Cuff Surgery?

To schedule an appointment to speak with a sports medicine physician about an injury to your rotator cuff, call (206) 341-3000.