Rotator Cuff Surgery


Rotator Cuff Surgery for Shoulder Pain

Your rotator cuff is a group of muscles that keeps your arm in your shoulder socket. If one of these muscles tears, it can cause shoulder pain and weakness. A rotator cuff tear can make it difficult for you to complete daily activities that involve lifting your arm, like getting dressed.

Our shoulder experts first try to treat a rotator cuff injury using a combination of nonsurgical methods like physical therapy and medication. If you continue to experience pain, we may recommend rotator cuff surgery.

Most of our rotator cuff surgeries are arthroscopic procedures, which use small incisions that lead to shorter recoveries. But if you aren’t a candidate for an arthroscopic approach, we may decide together that a traditional open surgery will give you better results. In either case, our orthopedic surgeons will find the right treatment to help you feel better and restore function in your shoulder.

The Aurora Difference

Rotator Cuff Surgery at Aurora

We treat thousands of people for rotator cuff injuries every year. In fact, our team treats more people with joint conditions than any other health system in Wisconsin. This experience means you can count on effective care that’s customized to your unique needs.

People choose Aurora Health Care because of our:

  • Commitment to minimally invasive procedures: We typically perform arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery. This minimally invasive procedure uses small incisions and specialized instruments. The result is less scar tissue, less pain and a quicker and easier rehabilitation. These procedures are also done on an outpatient basis, so after the surgery, you can recover comfortably in your own home.
  • Seamless care: Every member of your team, from your surgeon and primary care doctor to your physical therapist, communicates regularly about your care. This collaboration ensures you have a seamless care experience. Our sophisticated electronic health record system also helps all your team members stay on the same page about your care, regardless of their location.
  • Convenient locations: For your convenience, we offer many services – like radiology and rehabilitation – at locations throughout the state. Multiple centers mean you can find expert care close to home.
  • Responsive team: Our skilled, caring staff will help you feel calm and comfortable during and after your procedure. One way they do this is by offering personalized pain management plans for your surgery. And after your procedure, your care team is just a phone call away – you can reach a skilled professional 24/7 if you have any concerns as you recover at home.
  • Advanced techniques: We perform all types of rotator cuff surgeries, including superior capsular reconstruction, a rare procedure used to treat people without a rotator cuff. This technique replaces the rotator cuff with graft tissue, or tissue taken from another part of the body.

What to Expect

Preparing for Rotator Cuff Surgery

Your team will give you instructions on how to prepare for your rotator cuff surgery. Please follow the preoperative instructions carefully to ensure a safe procedure:

  • Food and drink: You may need to stop eating and drinking a few hours before the procedure begins.
  • Medications: Your doctor will tell you whether it’s safe to take your regular medications.

Since no two patients are exactly alike, be sure to talk with your doctor and care team about your individual preparations for surgery.

During Rotator Cuff Surgery

The surgery typically takes about two hours. During the surgery, we will:

  1. Give you anesthetic – typically general anesthesia – so you’ll be asleep during the procedure and not feel any pain.
  2. Make tiny incisions in your shoulder and insert specialized, miniature instruments. These instruments include a small camera called an arthroscope, which helps us see inside your body and pinpoint the damaged area.
  3. Repair your torn rotator cuff with the help of the arthroscope.

Find out more about shoulder surgery at Aurora.

Recovering from Rotator Cuff Surgery

After your rotator cuff surgery, you’ll most likely be able to go home as soon as the anesthesia has worn off. Before you leave, we’ll discuss your follow-up appointment schedule with you. Typically, we see people at:

  • Two weeks
  • Six weeks
  • Three months
  • Six months
  • During this time, you’ll begin your shoulder rehabilitation therapy, which will help you regain function and strength in your shoulder. Throughout the recovery process, your surgeons and physical therapists will communicate with you and with each other to ensure you’re progressing well. Learn more about rehabilitation and therapy services.

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