Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

I've been told that I have a torn rotator cuff that's too damaged to repair. Is this possible?

Answer:

Unfortunately, yes. The rotator cuff is made up of four muscles and the tendons that attach them to the shoulder joint. If the cuff is torn, early treatment and repair is best. Untreated, a small tear can become a large tear. If the tendon is completely separated, scar tissue fills in. Again, early in the injury, repair is more likely. After a number of years, this isn’t possible. Exercise to keep the joint stable and the remaining muscles strong is advised. Pain can be reduced and activity increased. However, the patient may always have some pain and less than normal motion. Joseph Mileti, MD, et al. Shoulder Arthroplasty For the Treatment of Postinfectious Glenohumeral Arthritis. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. April 2003. Vol. 85-A. No. 4. Pp. 609-614.

*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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