Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I'm so frustrated because my rotator cuff repair didn't hold. I don't know if I should bother having the surgery done again or not. What do you advise?


There are many reasons why rotator cuff repairs fail. Knowing the mode of failure helps the surgeon determine what should be done. Did the sutures fail to hold? Where did the failure occur (tendon, bone)?

Comparing the mode of failure with the type of repair is the next factor. Did the surgeon use the three-suture or the multi-suture method? And how much of a failure occurred?

Usually failure of the cuff repair is measured by the separation of the tendon repair site. A five-millimeter (or more) gap is a partial failure. More than a 10-millimiter gap at the repair site suggests a total failure.

Bone density is another key factor. Tunnels are drilled through the bone and the sutures threaded through the tunnels. The sutures can pull through the bone if the bone density isn't strong enough or there isn't enough bone mass.

At your next appointment with the surgeon, ask for a review of what happened. Find out what your options are and your surgeon's recommendation. Your decision will be influenced in part by your age, activity level, and occupation. James Bicos, MD, et al. The Multi-Suture Technique for Rotator Cuff Repair: A Biomechanical Evaluation. In Orthopedics. November 2007. Vol. 30. No. 11. Pp. 910-919.

*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.
All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Our Specialties

Where Does It Hurt?

Our Locations

  Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on YouTube
Follow us on Twitter