When Does A Rotator Cuff Injury Require Surgery?

Oct 11, 2022

When Does A Rotator Cuff Injury Require Surgery?
Does your rotator cuff injury require surgery? If shoulder pain interferes with your work or daily activities and doesn’t seem to be getting better, you may need surgery to heal.

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that firmly hold your upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. The muscles and tendons can easily tear, making rotator cuff injuries common. Rotator cuff injuries cause shoulder aches that increase at night. 

People who lift heavy objects or perform repetitive overhead movements, like athletes, construction workers, carpenters, and painters are most at risk for rotator cuff injuries, but age is also a factor. While most people recover from rotator cuff injuries with physical, therapy there are times when surgical intervention is necessary to heal and relieve the pain.

Does your rotator cuff injury require surgery? The experienced team of medical providers at Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgery Specialists share warning signs that may indicate you need surgery.

You can’t perform your typical daily tasks

If your shoulder pain is so severe that you find it difficult to reach into the cabinet for a glass, get dressed, or clean the house, you may need surgical treatment. If you experience constant pain that interferes with your daily life that isn’t relieved by nonsurgical treatment methods, you may be a candidate for surgery.

You have trouble completing your work tasks

Some people rely on the muscles in the rotator cuff to stabilize the shoulder and make it possible to do their jobs, like manual laborers, stay-at-home moms of young children, and professional athletes. Healthy rotator cuffs are essential for any task that involves lifting, reaching, or pulling.

If you’re unable to complete your work duties, talk to the experienced team at Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgery Specialists to discuss possible surgical solutions to safely get you back to work.

The pain is not relieved by nonsurgical treatment

Most people with rotator cuff injuries get relief from physical therapy, home exercise, or cortisone injections, but if these nonsurgical treatment methods aren’t working after a few months, you may need surgery.

You’re at risk for long-term damage to your tendons and muscles

Small rotator cuff tears respond quickly to nonsurgical treatment methods, but there are many degrees of a rotator cuff injury. If you have a signficant tear, surgery is necessary to prevent irreparable damage to the tendons and muscles in your rotator cuff.

Rotator cuff surgery options

Our experienced surgeons can repair most small-tear rotator cuff injuries with arthroscopic surgery methods, using a small camera inserted in your shoulder through a quarter-inch incision. Arthroscopic surgeries minimize pain, tissue damage, bleeding, and infection risk after surgery and enable a faster recovery. 

If your rotator cuff injury is more severe, such as in the case of a completely torn tendon, a tendon transfer operation may be necessary. In a tendon transfer operation, a healthy tendon is taken from another part of your body to replace the damaged tendon in your shoulder.

In some cases, a complete shoulder replacement surgery is required to restore function. Our surgeons replace your shoulder joint with a prosthetic joint to restore mobility and repair damage to the tendons and muscles.

The experienced and compassionate team at Los Angeles Orthopedic Surgery Specialists wants to ensure a long-term recovery from your rotator cuff injury. If you experience one or more of the warning signs of a rotator cuff that may require surgery, call one of our offices — in Los Angeles, Santa Fe Springs, Pico Rivera, Encino, Newhall, Montebello, or Tarzana, California, or schedule an appointment for a consultation online.