What are the different types of surgery for a rotator cuff tear?


Quick Answer

Open repair, mini-open repair and all-arthroscopic repair are surgical options available to treat rotator cuff tears, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. The type of repair depends on the severity of the tear and the quality of the bone and tendon at the surgical site.

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Full Answer

The open repair procedure is often used to treat long or complex tears, explains the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. During this procedure, the surgeon makes an incision of several centimeters, and then detaches the deltoid muscle. Open repair is also indicated if the surgical site requires extensive reconstruction. The mini-open repair is less invasive. The surgeon makes an incision measuring 3 to 5 centimeters in length, but there is no need to attach the deltoid muscle. If necessary, the surgeon treats bone spurs and other problems during the mini-open repair.

During all-arthroscopic repair, the surgeon inserts a small camera into the shoulder joint, notes the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Guided by the images displayed on a video screen, the surgeon repairs the tear with miniature surgical instruments. This procedure is less invasive because it does not require a long incision. All-arthroscopic repair is usually performed on an outpatient basis. After surgery, immobilizing the surgical site and performing exercises prescribed by the surgeon helps the rotator cuff heal.

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