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Understanding the Basics Behind Rotator Cuff Repair
What is Rotator Cuff Repair?
One of the most common causes of shoulder pain is rotator cuff damage. This can happen to anyone, whether you’re an athlete of any level, took a tough fall, or simply overworked your shoulder through various activities overworked your shoulder through various activities.
Our experienced orthopedic shoulder physicians at Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance have repaired thousands of rotator cuffs for our patients. We have the knowledge to deliver lasting results from rotator cuff repair in Kansas City.
After your initial examination with a KCOA physician, we will recommend the best treatment for your needs. Our practitioners provide the comprehensive care you need so you can return to the activities you enjoy.
Common symptoms that may require a rotator cuff repair include:
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance Shoulder Injuries Assessment
Assessing the Injury
Finding the right shoulder treatment in Kansas City starts with an assessment.
Finding the right shoulder treatment starts with an assessment. You can think of shoulder pain as a spectrum, with some instances being more severe than others. The KCOA orthopedic specialists always focus on each individual patient and their concerns before creating a treatment plan.
Therefore, during your initial appointment, we will often ask questions such as:
From there, we can decide whether shoulder arthroscopy will align best with your needs and lifestyle goals. After a proper assessment, we often begin with a physical examination to help determine the origin point of your pain. In some cases, advanced testing may be required for a full diagnosis.
Also called radiographs, an X-ray captures a picture of the bones comprising the shoulder. Orthopedic physicians may order an X-ray to rule out the possibility of a fracture (broken bone), osteoarthritis, or other bone-related condition.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
MRI captures images of muscles, bones, ligaments, and tendons to help provide information other tests can’t detail. During an MRI, you will lie on a table that slides into a tube-shaped scanner. The machine creates a magnetic field around you, using pulsed radio waves to form the MRI images.
Electromyograms (EMG) and Nerve Conduction Studies
Our board-certified physiatrists utilize electromyograms (EMGs) and nerve conduction studies to help determine whether nerves and muscles respond properly to stimuli. The EMG measures the electrical activity of your muscles at rest and in motion, while nerve conduction studies determine how fast and effectively your nerves and muscles receive electrical signals.
Establishing a Care Plan
Based on the results of your interview, examination, and imaging studies, you can expect a custom care plan catered specifically to you.
Many people believe it’s best to wait until pain becomes severe, leading them to “put off” or delay treatments. If you are in constant discomfort, have shooting or stabbing pains, have limited range of motion, or an inability to perform your daily activities, rotator cuff repair may be right for you. New technologies allow patients with shoulder pain to fully recover and enjoy the benefits of a more functional, pain-free lifestyle.
Prior to surgery, you will typically receive at least 2 phone calls:
Dependent on your health history, your physician may require:
Pre-operative instructions will vary depending on your physician and the location of your surgery. Always check with your physician prior to surgery for their specific instructions.
Most physicians require that patients do not eat or drink after midnight prior to surgery. Additionally, you will need a designated family member or friend to drive you home on the day you are released from the hospital. Surgical patients cannot drive themselves home.
Day of Surgery
If you schedule your surgery with a KCOA physician, you can expect the following on surgery day:
How it Works
One method we can use for rotator cuff repair is a shoulder arthroscopy. Shoulder arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows surgeons to see inside the joint. A small tube with a camera is inserted through a minor incision, allowing the surgeon to view the structures of the joint and execute a repair.
While arthroscopy is now the most common methodology for performing rotator cuff repairs, there are instances when a more “open” approach is necessary to visualize the structures and repair the damaged tissue.
All of these options will be discussed with the patient prior to performing any type of repair.
During your shoulder arthroscopy for rotator cuff repair in Kansas City, you will remain under general anesthesia. After creating a small incision, the surgeon inserts a tiny camera (arthroscope) into the shoulder joint, giving them a clear guide for the surgical instruments. Saline-based fluid flows through the arthroscope to keep the image clear and bleeding minimal.
After assessing the injury and condition, your surgeon will begin the repair. Shoulder arthroscopy gives access to many repair options, like repairing the rotator cuff and labrum, smoothing the surrounding cartilage, removing inflamed tissue, and reshaping joints to prevent recurring injuries.
After your surgery, you will remain in the recovery room before being discharged. Our experienced clinical team will monitor you during this recovery and provide pain relief medication, if needed.
Repairing a rotator cuff is a significant procedure which often needs a few weeks to a few months for your shoulder to fully recover. Because of its proximity to the head and neck and the concentration of nerve endings, shoulder surgeries can cause quite a bit of discomfort. Therefore, after surgery, the shoulder is often very sore, achy, and painful. This is expected. Keep in mind, the shoulder joint is more complicated than the knee due to its structure and mobility, which is why recovery usually takes longer. Most people are in a sling for at least a month, but for more severe cases, it may be extended to 2 months
What to Expect
As time passes, you will gradually notice an improvement for up to a year. To prevent further injuries, it’s important to maintain good posture To prevent further injuries, it’s important to maintain good posture and ensure that your shoulder is in good position relative to your scapula. You should also focus on core strength, and promote healthy mobility of the shoulder.
We recommend regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and monitoring your blood sugar levels if you’re diabetic. Staying active and following the instructions of your providers are the keys to a successful recovery from a rotator cuff repair.
Causes of Shoulder Pain
The body has different kinds of joints, and they all face different challenges. The shoulder is a “ball-in-socket” joint, meaning it’s composed of a ball-like structure that moves inside a depression in the bone to allow for rotational movements. The ball-shaped head of your humerus (upper arm bone) that fits into the glenoid cavity in the scapula (shoulder blade) creates the shoulder joint.
In most instances, pain in your shoulder doesn’t come from these bones unless a fracture is present. Pain generators in the shoulder include disruptions to muscles, ligaments, cartilage, and tendons that surround and support this joint.
Surgery, even minimally invasive ones like shoulder arthroscopy, isn’t necessarily the first choice. Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance physicians prefer a more conservative approach to treatment, so we will typically exhaust all non-surgical options before recommending surgery. Non-surgical treatments for shoulder injuries include:
Medications – Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Advil) or prescription medications. Especially with NSAIDs, you should always talk to your doctor to ensure they are the right treatment for you.
Injections – Cortisone injections can help reduce inflammation in the shoulder and can even provide additional insight into the cause of your shoulder pain. The amount of relief from an injection varies by patient, but often in combination with physical therapy, patients can experience significant improvements in their function.
Regenerative Medicines – Regenerative medicines like stem cell injections or platelet-rich plasma can help nourish worn or damaged tissue. This option works best if you have mild-to-moderate shoulder pain.
Kansas City Orthopedic Alliance is here to help.
Our care is personal. Our team is knowledgeable. And we’re more available than ever.
With access to board-certified specialists across Kansas City, we have the tools to meet almost every musculoskeletal condition.
Overland Park, Kansas10777 Nall Ave Suite 300 Overland Park, KS 66211
Leawood, Kansas3651 College Blvd. Leawood, KS 66211
Kansas City, MissouriSaint Luke's Medical Plaza #1 4320 Wornall Rd., Ste. 610 Kansas City, MO 64111
Belton, MissouriBelton Regional Campus 17067 S Outer Rd #301 Belton, MO 64012
Dr. Ting and his staff are the best!
Dr. Ting and his staff are the best! Sarah his nurse is kind and supportive. Dr. Tings nurse for surgery was absolutely the best! Dr. Ting, I have complete faith in. He is who I shall go to for anything he handles! Can’t say enough about him! Thank you all for making a scary time a completely peaceful event. You are the best!!
Staff is great
…just did my husbands hands on Wed. last week and can’t believe how well he is doing. We have already recommended you to our son and a few others. Your staff is great and my husband doing well. Thanks to you.
I left a very happy patient.
…I arrived a little bit late. I got checked in quickly and was back in a room within 10 minutes. Dr Rhodes was very friendly and took the time to pull up pictures of my surgery and show them and explain them to me. I left a very happy patient.
Dr. Scott Ellsworth is one of the best
Dr. Scott Ellsworth is one of the best I have ever worked with. He is knowledgeable, efficient, caring, and knows his patients. He has a special bedside manner that makes any patient in any situation feel comfortable. All of the nurses and office staff are wonderful as well.
I'm consistently impressed
In the process of treating my particular problem I’ve been to Apex probably 4-5 times. I’m consistently impressed by the professionalism of the staff and the amount of care & time they spend with me as a patient. They’re always very careful to make sure I understand the nature of the medical problem, the reasons for the diagnosis, and the type of treatment recommended. Stephanie’s care and concern is especially appreciated.