Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Tear Repair


Rotator cuff injuries or disease can be particularly troubling to patients by causing them pain, weakness, and dysfunction of the shoulder. Surgery of the shoulder and, in particular, of the rotator cuff, has evolved over the years from open surgery to include arthroscopic treatment for many conditions. Although technically demanding, arthroscopic repair of full- and partial-thickness rotator cuff tears has been shown to produce satisfactory results. Along with the advantages of the arthroscopic technique, smaller skin incisions, access to the glenohumeral joint for inspection and treatment of intra-articular lesions, no detachment of the deltoid, and less soft-tissue dissection, patients’ results are comparable with those obtained with the open method of repair. The three phases of shoulder rehabilitation for patients who have undergone surgical treatment of rotator cuff disease are described: Phase 1, the immediate postoperative, or protective, phase; phase 2, the progressive strengthening phase; and phase 3, the advanced conditioning and return-to-sport phase. The postoperative rehabilitation programs for the arthroscopic and mini-open rotator cuff repair are essentially the same. (Journal of Surgical Orthopaedic Advances 12(4):175–190, 2003

Champ L. Baker, MD, Andrew L. Whaley, MD,  Mark Baker, PT