Recovery time for surgery on a torn rotator cuff ranges from three to six months, and patients should expect to take several months before returning to all activities, according to MedlinePlus. For four to six weeks after surgery, the patient may need to wear a sling.
While surgically repairing a torn rotator cuff typically relieves shoulder pain, the surgery does not always restore shoulder strength, notes MedlinePlus. Physical therapy helps to regain shoulder movement and strength. How long the therapy lasts depends on the nature of the repair. Some patients' tears do not fully heal, and they experience chronic weakness, stiffness and pain. Incomplete healing is more likely with smokers, patients over 65, larger tears, a pre-existing weakness or tear and failing to follow exercise instructions after surgery.