Rotator cuff repair

Rotator cuff repair surgery is performed to repair or fix torn or injured tendons of the shoulder. A rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder joint. They hold the arm in its ball-and-socket joint, aiding in shoulder movements.
The damage to the rotator cuff reduces the strength and limits the mobility of the shoulder joint significantly. Rotator cuff repair surgery can be done in either of three ways: open, mini-open, or arthroscopic.

Circumstances calling for surgery:

  • Damage, tearing, or instability of the rotator cuff due to injury, accident, dislocation, or fracture.
  • Medication and physiotherapy fails to heal injury and relieve the symptoms, even after 3-6 months of treatment
  • When full shoulder mobility is required for overhead work or sports in young patients.
Rotator cuff repair

Facts & Figures:

  • Introduced by Smith in 1834, the incidence of rotator cuff tendonitis has been found majorly in workers carrying out heavy manual labor.
  • Shoulder pain is the third most common cause of musculoskeletal disorders after low back pain and cervical pain.
  • Rotator cuff injury is generally seen in people above40, mostly between ages 55-85.
  • Family history, and smoking and multiple steroid injections increase the chances of rotator cuff tearing and injuries respectively.

Symptoms of rotator cuff tear:

  •  Atrophy, pain, and weakness of the shoulder muscles during movement.
  • Crepitus or crackling sensation during certain movements of the arm.


  • Extension and flexor movement of the wrist, elbow, and hand
  • Stretching and Strengthening exercises of arms and shoulder joints

One can gradually resume routine activities during the rehabilitation phase as the joints strengthened with exercises. It heals completely within 6 to 12 months of the surgery.

It is advisable to do rotator cuff repair relatively soon after the injury or tear to obtain the best outcome of the surgery.




Preoperative Preparation

  • Complete physical examination
  • Blood and urinalysis
  • ECG and x-ray chest for the patient above 50 years
  • Consult with the surgeon week prior and get the correct medicinal prescriptions.
  • Inform the surgeon about smoking and alcohol habits.
  • Visit a physiotherapist to understand the post-surgery rehabilitation program and using crutches.
  • Plan for leave from work and domestic help at home.
  • Don’t consume anything after midnight before surgery.
  • Medical tourists are advised to wear comfortable clothes and to select a handicap-accessible hotel room  for recovery after getting a discharge from hospital

Post operative care

  • Wear a sling for 3 to 6 weeks to keep the shoulder at rest.
  • The incision area needs to be kept immobilized, dry, and clean.
  • For best results, perform exercises correctly under your physiotherapist’s supervision.