Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair in Houston, TX

Rotator Cuff Surgery

The shoulder is the most flexible joint in the body, and because of that, it is very susceptible to injury. The rotator cuff is actually a large tendon made up of four separate muscles that combine to allow the arms to lift and rotate. It also stabilizes the ball of the shoulder in the joint.

Rotator Cuff Tear Symptoms

Rotator cuff injuries range from fraying of the tendons and small tears to complete tears, which are essentially holes in the tendon. The symptoms of a torn rotator cuff range from weakness in the joint to pain while in motion, or, in more severe cases, constant pain even at rest. Analgesic medication may no longer provide relief. Daily activities such as brushing your hair or reaching for everyday items may be difficult to endure due to pain.

The symptoms of rotator cuff damage include pain at night that keeps you from sleeping on the affected side, recurring pain, especially with overhead motions, muscle weakness when lifting the arm, popping, grating, or crackling sounds with arm movement.

Dr. Warnock will evaluate your condition in an initial consultation, where he will discuss your symptoms and medical history. At this time, he will use diagnostic imaging tests, such as x-rays and MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or ultrasound, to see soft tissue damage.

Rotator Cuff Injury Causes

The shoulder is subject to wear and tear as a result of age, overuse, and damage from trauma.  Damage to the tendons comprising the rotator cuff can result from

  • repetitive injuries – Repetitive motions from certain occupations and sports can cause fraying of the tendons in the shoulder over time, eventually leading to tears.
  • deterioration due to age
  • or sudden trauma to the shoulder – Falls or accidents resulting in shoulder separations or fractures can also result in tendon damage.

Physical jobs that include lifting or overhead movements can cause fraying and tears to the tendon. Dislocation of the shoulder or fractures of the shoulder can also cause damage to its muscle and tendons.

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Surgery

In some cases, patients may avoid surgery with rest and physical therapy to allow healing. Over-the-counter pain medication and/or cortisone injections may provide patients with adequate pain relief. However, sometimes small tears can worsen and become more difficult to repair later. In severe cases, arthroscopy surgery is the only option.

Dr. Warnock is an expert in arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Dr. Warnock is one of the few fellowship-trained shoulder surgeons in Houston. He has advanced, specialized training in minimally invasive shoulder surgery. Have Dr. Warnock examine your shoulder if you are suffering from shoulder pain.

Consequences of Avoiding Surgery

Rotator cuff tears can start out small but may become larger over time. Continuing to participate in repetitive activities that initially caused the injury can worsen the shoulder injury.

Alternatives To Arthroscopy Surgery

Many rotator cuff tears can heal successfully without surgery. A combination of anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid injections, and physical therapy can result in reduced pain followed by increased range of motion.

When Rotator Cuff Shoulder Surgery is Necessary

A successful rotator cuff repair requires healthy tendon tissue, a proper surgical repair by an experienced surgeon, appropriate postoperative rehabilitation, and commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Warnock is able to treat his patients with rotator cuff tears using an arthroscopic repair of the of the rotator cuff tear. After the surgery, the arm will be in a sling for several weeks for support. The shoulder needs to be immobilized and protected in order to allow the tendon to heal. Patients need to avoid using the arm for four to six weeks following the surgery. Once the tendon has healed, you can begin moving the arm with passive exercises and physical therapy.

Rotator Cuff Repair Recovery Time

Complete recovery can take several months, depending on the severity of the injury. While progress may seem slow at first, proper rehabilitation usually results in a successful outcome.

Sometimes rotator cuff tears do not heal with surgery. The larger the tear and the weaker the tendon, the more likely it is that the tendon will not heal or will re-tear. Other things that can delay or prevent healing include tobacco and diabetes.

Shoulder stiffness is the most common problem after a rotator cuff repair. Rarely, complications such as infection and nerve injury can occur with surgery. The tendon can also re-tear after it has been repaired if shoulder precautions are not followed.

Superior Capsule Reconstruction

For patients with a massive, irreparable rotator cuff tear, treatment options are still available. Superior capsule reconstruction is a new cutting edge treatment which offers hope to people with rotator cuff tears that cannot be repaired. This arthroscopic surgery restores shoulder stability and function for patients. Dr. Warnock is knowledgeable and experienced in this surgical technique.

Treatment by Dr. Warnock, a Shoulder Specialist

Dr. Warnock is an expert in arthroscopic rotator cuff repair. Dr. Warnock is one of the few fellowship-trained shoulder surgeons in Houston. He has advanced, specialized training in minimally invasive shoulder surgery. Have Dr. Warnock examine your shoulder if you are suffering from shoulder pain.

Contact shoulder specialist Dr. K. Mathew Warnock to learn more about your options at (281) 807-4380.

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