In this day and age, most orthopedic doctors repair the rotator cuff arthroscopically – meaning it’s minimally invasive. We use a camera to assess your rotator cuff arthroscopically through small incisions about your shoulder – we look at your shoulder on a TV screen. Through small incisions at about your shoulder, we’re able to mobilize the cuff tear because sometimes it can get scarred down with time. So we mobilize the torn rotator cuff, free it up from scar tissue. Then what we we do is we put a suture in it and the suture is like rope that we put into the cuff. Then we use that suture to pull the rotator cuff back into its anatomic position onto what’s called the greater tuberosity. If it’s a superspinatus or infraspinatus tear, the supraspinatus and infraspinatus are the two muscles that insert onto the greater tuberosity. So for instance, the superspinatus, which is most commonly torn rotator cuff tendon, we put suture into it and then there are different methods of fixation, but most commonly an anchor (which is a little anchor that goes into your bone and stays there and usually it’s reabsorbable and reabsorbed into the body with time) – the screw or the anchor goes into the bone and then the tendon gets reattached back down to the greater tuberosity with a suture that goes into the bone with its anchor. That holds in place while it heals over the course of about 3 months.
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