Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ


I have a very large tear in my rotator cuff, and I'm going to have surgery to fix it. Does the size of the tear make a difference in whether the results of surgery will last?


It's possible that the size of the tear will make a difference in the surgery's success. A recent study followed patients who had this kind of surgery at age 55. Ten years after surgery, researchers checked on patients' pain, level of function, and shoulder strength.

All of the patients who had small or medium-sized tears had excellent results from surgery ten years later. Patients who had large tears also had good or excellent results. These numbers changed somewhat for the 11 patients with massive tears. There were seven excellent results, one good result, and three unsatisfactory results.

From this study, it looks like the chance of having an unsatisfactory result goes up slightly as the tear gets bigger. However, there's still a good chance of having a positive result. Ask your doctor what kind of results you can expect, given your age and condition.

*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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