The tendons weaken and develop small tears as part of the normal ageing process. However, either through an accident or a more aggressive form of ageing, a large tear can form which weakens the shoulder and makes it painful to move.
A rotator cuff repair would usually involve opening up the space above the tendons (subacromial decompression) and either repairing the tears or re-attaching the tendon to the bone.
The repair involves using special anchors to re-attach the torn tendon onto the bone. The operation would normally be carried out using keyhole surgery, through several small incisions (3-4mm in length) around the shoulder. Most patients would be given a general anaesthetic for the procedure.