Rotator Cuff Repair
The rotator cuff is composed of four tendons that blend together into one cuff (Figure 1). This cuff of tendons and muscles controls the complex motions and helps maintain the stability of the shoulder. The larger muscles of the shoulder, such as the deltoid, provide strength. The rotator cuff maintains proper mechanics.
Rotator cuff disease is very common and encompasses impingement syndrome, subacromial bursitis, rotator cuff tendinitis, partial rotator cuff tears. These problems are typically treated without surgery.
However, when left untreated, rotator cuff tendonitis and partial tears contribute to abnormal mechanics, wear and tear on the joint, pain, and further deterioration of the rotator cuff and the labrum (Figure 2). The end stage of this process is a full thickness rotator cuff tear and eventual destruction of the joint (cuff arthropathy).
Rotator cuff tears can sometimes be treated non-operatively with rest, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. In cases where non-operative treatment is unsuccessful, and in younger patients with rotator cuff tears, a rotator cuff repair can be performed (Figure 3). The goal of rotator cuff repair is to relieve pain, restore strength, improve function, and maintain the shoulder joint.