You may be having an arthroscopic decompression of the shoulder. If the Rotator Cuff tendons are torn they will be repaired.

This means that the space at the top of the shoulder will be enlarged to prevent the shoulder from impinging. The head of the humerus can impinge against the acromion anteriorly and the coraco acromial ligament. The anterior and lateral parts of the acromion can be burred to reduce the impingement and the coraco acromial ligament can be cut.

Tears of the rotator cuff can be small or quite large. The bigger the tear is and the older the patient the more difficult it will be to repair. In some cases it will be impossible to repair the tendon. The camera will show the extent of the tear if there is one present.

The recovery time afterwards can be as long as 1 year. You may still have pain during that time as bad as you had before the operation but it will gradually decrease.

Tears of the rotator cuff are often the result of the normal aging process so the risk of a re-tear in the older patient is about 40.

The operation is done under a general anaesthetic which means you are fully asleep during the procedure. This carries certain risks to the heart and the lungs.

These risks are very low and only 1 in 1000 patients will have any problem. The risks will be increased if you have a medical condition such as angina, high blood pressure, asthma, airways disease or diabetes or if you are overweight. It is important to discuss any medical condition prior to surgery. Please bring all tablets that you are on when you are coming in.
Please ring the office if you have a cold or a flu illness.

You may have some numbness around the wound area which rarely is permanent but may last a few months.

There is a 1 in 100 chance of getting a wound infection. This can usually be treated with antibiotics and cleaning of the wound.

You will be in hospital 1 or 2 nights.

After the operation your arm will be in a sling for 6 weeks if you have had a rotator cuff repair. Otherwise you will be allowed to use the arm.

You will be seen again at the clinic after 1 week when your dressing will be taken off. It is likely that you will require further follow up and physio as appropriate.

Please visit our downloads page exercises.

Breandán Long