Rotator Cuff Tear Repair – Arthroscopic Specialist

Matthew J Crawford, DO, PhD

Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon & Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine located in Austin, TX

When patients in and around Austin, Texas, injure or damage their rotator cuffs, Matthew J. Crawford, MD, PhD, offers effective rotator cuff repair services and treatments. Rotator cuff injuries are common among athletes and those who have physically demanding careers. Don’t let this injury keep you away from the sport you love. Make an appointment with Dr. Crawford for rotator cuff repair today.

Rotator Cuff Tear Repair – Arthroscopic Q & A

What is a rotator cuff tear?

The rotator cuff is the group of four muscles that join the shoulder as tendons and hold the ball and socket joint of your shoulder in the correct position. When you tear your rotator cuff, these muscles or tendons are partially or completely torn off of the bones of the shoulder.

Rotator cuff tears are either acute tears sustained during an accident or injury or degenerative, which means that the muscles and tendons stretch and become weakened over time.


How can I tell if I have injured my rotator cuff?

If you have a torn rotator cuff, you’ll experience pain while at rest, for example, at night. You’ll also feel pain and weakness when you lift, lower, or rotate your arm. You may even notice a crackling sensation when you move your arm in certain directions. This is called crepitus and is caused by the friction of cartilage and bone rubbing together.

Rotator cuff injuries are more common in people over the age of 40 because of the general wear and tear they’ve put on their shoulders throughout their lifetimes. If you do repetitive overhead lifting either as an athlete or for your job, you may also be at a higher risk.


How are rotator cuff injuries repaired?

Depending on the severity of your injury, Dr. Crawford may recommend appropriate treatment to repair your rotator cuff and allow your muscles and tendons to heal. If your rotator cuff injury is mild, Dr. Crawford may suggest a conservative approach. This could include limiting activities that aggravate your shoulder, physical therapy to strengthen and restore movement to your shoulder, rest, anti-inflammatory medications, or steroid injections. These conservative methods help in most cases.

However, if the rotator cuff injury is severe, you may need surgical intervention for effective repair and treatment. Whenever possible, Dr. Crawford uses minimally invasive arthroscopic surgical techniques to repair the rotator cuff. 

During these procedures, Dr. Crawford uses specially designed instruments, including an arthroscope to reach the shoulder joint. The arthroscope is a thin tube that has a light and a camera mounted on the tip. This device sends images back to a video monitor in the operating room, which allows Dr. Crawford to see the joint and make repairs without having to open your shoulder with traditional shoulder surgery.


How long is recovery from rotator cuff repair?

In most cases, you’ll be back to work or school within a couple of days. You’ll wear a sling to support your shoulder for up to six weeks and may need physical therapy for 4-6 months to reach full recovery.

If you have a rotator cuff injury that requires arthroscopic surgery, give Dr. Crawford a call or schedule a consultation using the online booking tool.

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