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Shoulder News

Expert Advice on Partial Rotator Cuff Tears

Two doctors from the United States Center for Sports Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, offer these thoughts on repairing the rotator cuff tendons of the shoulder:

  • Partial tears of the rotator cuff should be treated with surgery.
  • This operation can prevent a full tear of the rotator cuff.
  • The entire surgery can be done by arthroscope.
  • Any healthy tissue seen during the operation should be left alone.

    When a tendon tears completely, there's no question that surgery to repair it is needed. But when a partial tear occurs, the best treatment isn't always clear. Anyone can tear their rotator cuff, but the most likely person is over age 45 or an overhand-throwing athlete.

    Many repairs are done now using an arthroscope. This tool allows the doctor to insert a tiny TV camera inside the joint to examine and treat area. Torn fragments of the tendon can be shaved off or sewn back together.

    In this article, the authors describe their technique for repairing partial rotator cuff tears. They use an arthroscope with three separate entrances into the joint. Each step is carefully described so that other doctors can use the same method.

    The authors report that doing the entire operation by arthroscope helps protect the joint. It also brings more blood to the tear site and promotes healing. Reports like this are of interest to patients with rotator cuff tears and the doctors who repair these injuries.


    Richard C. Lehman, MD, and Clayton R. Perry, MD. Arthroscopic Surgery for Partial Rotator Cuff Tears. In Arthroscopy. September 2003. Vol. 19. No. 7. Pp. E65: 1-4.

    11/11/2003

    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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