Rotator cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons which stabilise the shoulder or help keep the joint in the correct position and control shoulder movements.

Common questions

What is treatment for tear of the rotator cuff?

Rotator cuff is a group of tendons that stabilise the shoulder joint. Sometimes - as a result of injury or wear and tear - one of the tendons can tear requiring sewing the torn edges together. The surgery usually involves removing of loose fragments of tendon, bursa and other debris and then sewing the torn edges.

The damage usually occurs in the tendon area, the area where the muscle joins the bone. If one or more of these tendons are torn, movement is no longer smoothly controlled and the shoulder becomes weak and painful.

The operation aims to re-attach the tendons to the bone. Sometimes the tear is too big and /or the tendon is too fragile for this to be possible and only a partial repair can be achieved.

Why would I have treatment for tear of the rotator cuff?

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilise the shoulder joint. The muscles can be torn through general wear and tear or after an accident/fall.

What happens during treatment for tear of the rotator cuff?

During the operation you may be given a nerve block, which is an injection of local anaesthetic around the nerves in your neck to numb the arm. This may last several hours or even up to a day after the procedure. As the nerve block starts to wear off the feeling of sensation will return to the arm often in the form of pins and needles.

After surgery your shoulder will be supported with a sling. You should use the sling for 6 weeks. You will have 2 or 3 small skin incisions which will heal within 2 weeks. There may be some fluid (mostly water) initially oozing from the wound during the first day. This occurs because the shoulder will be irrigated with fluid throughout the operation. The leaking fluid often looks very bloody but blood loss is minimal. The incision should be protected by a waterproof plaster when having a shower. The practice nurse at your surgery will remove the stitches two weeks after the operation.

Contact Benenden Hospital

It’s easy to make an appointment; you can ask your GP or give us a call on 01580 230661.