Rotator Cuff Repair

The shoulder joint and surrounding group of four muscles is referred to as the rotator cuff. These muscles work together to allow for elevation and rotation of the arm with power. Tears in the rotator cuff are a common source of shoulder pain. Tears can be minor and occur from trauma such as a fall. They can also be chronic which is usually from progression of fraying, or wear and tear, over time. In many cases, nonsurgical therapies are a successful method of healing. If your symptoms do not improve with therapy and rest, or if the tear is severe, surgical rotator cuff repair may be necessary.

Treatment for a rotator cuff tear depends on the type of tear, if the tear is retracted or pulled far from the bone, age of tear, and your activity level.

After surgery, a sling is often used to immobilize the shoulder as the repair heals. Our team at Orthopedic Associates of Lancaster will work with you to develop a personalized recovery plan to help you regain shoulder strength and function and manage pain.

Types of Treatment:

  • Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair in which a camera and small instruments are passed through small incisions to view and repair the rotator cuff tendons back to arm bone. Because of the small incisions, arthroscopy can often provide a faster healing time and less pain during recovery.
  • Open rotator cuff repair in which standard-sized incisions are used to repair the rotator cuff tendons back to arm bone.
  • Debridement typically recommended if you have only a partial thickness rotator cuff tear. This involves shaving away the small flap of torn tendon.
  • Rotator cuff repair with augmentation is sometimes needed in cases of bigger tears, retracted tears, or older tears. This repair uses a graft made from donor skin tissue which is sewn to the rotator cuff tendon. The graft and rotator cuff tendon are then used as a bridge and attached into the bone.
  • Superior capsular reconstruction, a technique used for very large rotator cuff tears that cannot be repaired to the bone. A graft made from donor skin tissue is anchored from the shoulder socket to the upper arm bone. This recreates the superior, or top part, of the shoulder lining and helps withshoulder stability.
  • Reverse total shoulder replacement in which the natural shoulder makeup is reversed so the deltoid muscle, instead of the rotator cuff muscles, provide movement in your arm. This is often recommended when a larger rotator cuff tear and arthritis in the shoulder are present.


  • Rotator Cuff Tear