Doctors may perform an open surgical repair, all-arthroscopic repair or mini-open repair to repair rotator cuff tears caused by an acute injury, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Surgery is often necessary if pain persists despite nonsurgical treatment.
The size of the tear, the condition of the bone and tendon tissue, the patient's anatomy and the doctor's experience are several important factors in determining the suitable shoulder surgery for a patient, notes the AAOS. During an open repair, doctors create an incision on the shoulder and disconnect the deltoid shoulder muscle to view the torn tendon more clearly. They often remove bone spurs from the bottom part of the acromion.
An all-arthroscopic repair is the least invasive surgical option for repairing a torn rotator cuff, and it involves making small cuts and inserting a tiny camera, known as an arthroscope, into the shoulder joint, explains the AAOS. Doctors use the camera to guide thin surgical instruments into the damaged tendon.
During a mini-open repair, a doctor creates an incision that is about 3 to 5 centimeters long and insert an arthroscope to evaluate and repair the damage to structures within the shoulder joint, states the AAOS. He views the interior of the shoulder directly without using video monitors.