Can all rotator cuff tears be repaired surgically?
Yes and no. Some doctors repair all types of rotator cuff tears that can be repaired. This depends on their location and if thereâs 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. Itâs inserted into a joint and gives the doctor a view inside. The arthroscope has made it possible to repair tears that couldnât 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.
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