I understand there are several ways to repair a torn rotator cuff. I couldn't get my orthopedist to give me his opinion about which one is best. What can you tell me?
There are three basic ways to repair the rotator cuff. The open incision method is the traditional operation. It's the most invasive but gives the surgeon the best access to the area.
The mini-open incision is the middle-of-the-road method. It combines an incision with arthroscopy. The patient has a much smaller incision. The surgeon has greater access while using an arthroscope.
Arthroscopy alone is the third option. The surgeon punctures two to four small holes and inserts the scope. There's a tiny TV camera on the end of the arthroscope. The surgeon can see on a TV monitor what's going on inside the joint.
More experienced surgeons seem to prefer the open incision method. The mini-open or arthroscopic methods may become more popular as more orthopedic surgeons use them.
If you find out which method your surgeon uses most often, you'll probably know which one gives him (and you) the best results.
Warren R. Dunn, MD, MPH, et al. Variation in Orthopaedic Surgeons' Perceptions About the Indications for Rotator Cuff Surgery. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. September 2005. Vol. 87-A. No. 9. Pp. 1978-1984.
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