Preparing for a surgical repair of a tear in the shoulder includes resting the joint, putting on cold packs, performing recommended therapeutic exercise and taking over-the-counter pain medications to manage discomfort, notes Healthline. The doctor needs to know any medicines being taken ahead of the operation.
Tendon repair in the shoulder, as with a rotator cuff repair, takes place as an open surgery with a large incision or as an arthroscopic procedure using a small hole to insert a camera and instruments to make the repair. Once the tendon is back in the correct place, the surgeon keeps it in place with sutures and suture anchors, rivets that either dissolve or are made of metal. The larger the tear, the more likely the surgeon is to need to perform an open incision, according to Healthline.
After the surgery is over, patients often need to keep their arms in a sling for up to six weeks and wear a shoulder immobilizer in some cases, which shields the shoulder by preventing movement. Prescription pain medications are common during recovery as the procedure is often quite painful. Physical therapy is a part of recovery to restore full range of motion and muscular strength. Full recovery lasts as long as six months, depending on the original injury, states Healthline.