Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Shoulder FAQ

Question:

Can all rotator cuff tears be repaired surgically?

Answer:

Yes and no. Some doctors repair all types of rotator cuff tears that can be repaired. This depends on their location and if there’s enough tissue to cover the head of the humerus (upper arm bone). The decision is more complicated if more than one tendon is torn. New surgical techniques using arthroscopy have changed things. The arthroscope is a long needle-like tool with a tiny TV camera on the end. It’s inserted into a joint and gives the doctor a view inside. The arthroscope has made it possible to repair tears that couldn’t be fixed in the past. If a tear is left unrepaired for years, there may be too much damage to fix it later. This can happen when someone injures the shoulder, but recovers without seeing a doctor. If the joint needs replacing years later, the doctor may find the tear during the operation. William F. Bennett, MD. Arthroscopic Repair of Massive Rotator Cuff Tears: A Prospective Cohort With 2- to 4-Year Follow-up. In Arthroscopy. April 2003. Vol. 19. No. 4. Pp. 380-390.

*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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