Shoulder Rotator Cuff Repair Q & A
What is the shoulder rotator cuff?
A shoulder rotator cuff is a group of muscles that cover the top of your humerus. It attaches the humerus to the shoulder blade and helps you lift and rotate your arm.
A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury and means one or more of the tendons in the rotator cuff is no longer attached to the humerus. This type of injury may cause pain and weaken the shoulder.
A rotator cuff tear may develop after an acute injury, such as a bad fall onto an outstretched arm or degeneration. The tear may be partial or complete.
Who needs shoulder rotator cuff repair?
Dr. Klassen only recommends shoulder rotator cuff repair for patients who fail to get relief from their pain with non-surgical interventions. He may also suggest surgical intervention for patients that rely on their shoulder for overhead movements for their job or sport.
He may also recommend shoulder rotator cuff repair for patients with large tears or patients who’ve lost significant function in their shoulder because of their tear.
In addition to performing rotator cuff repairs, Dr. Klassen is a medical legal expert who provides evaluations, direction, and recommendations to attorneys, insurers, and government entities when the rotator cuff is involved in a case.
Dr. Klassen’s medical legal services also include independent medical examinations (IMEs), agreed medical evaluations (AMEs), qualified medical evaluations (QMEs), impairment ratings, and medical record reviews. He also offers expert testimony when needed.
What happens during shoulder rotator cuff repair?
Dr. Klassen is an experienced orthopedic surgeon and may use various surgical techniques to repair the tear. The technique depends on the size of the tear, shoulder anatomy, and overall health of the patient.
Surgical options include:
- Open repair - Dr. Klassen may perform a traditional open shoulder rotator cuff repair on patients with a large or complex tear. Patients who need other types of reconstructive surgery, such as the removal of bone spurs, may also need an open procedure.
- All-arthroscopic repair - For small or less complex tears, Dr. Klassen performs an all-arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. During the procedure, he uses an arthroscope — a thin tube with a camera and a light — to see the inside of the shoulder and repair the rotator cuff tear. All-arthroscopic repair is a minimally invasive approach.
- Mini-open repair - A mini-open repair uses both arthroscopic and open techniques to repair the rotator cuff. With this procedure, Dr. Klassen reattaches the torn rotator cuff and repairs any other shoulder damage. Though not always necessary, some patients benefit from shoulder rotator cuff repair. To discuss rotator cuff repair, call the office of Michael Klassen, MD, FAAOS today!