Rotator Cuff Surgery: What to Expect

Rotator Cuff Surgery

It’s estimated that more than 460,000 rotator cuff surgeries are performed each year in the United States, a statistic that is only expected to grow. These numbers place rotator cuff repairs as the second most common orthopedic soft tissue repair.

There are two populations most at risk of rotator cuff tears: athletes and the elderly. This is because rotator cuff tears occur with repetitive use, aging, or disease.

Types of Rotator Cuff Tears

There is no one-size-fits-all for rotator cuff tears; some are minor and can be managed with rest and physical therapy, whereas others are severe and require surgery. In severe cases, the rotator cuff tear likely results in a limited range of motion in the joint, with many individuals struggling to lift their shoulder over a certain height or move the shoulder joint in a back-and-forth motion.

There is limited evidence suggesting that surgery shows better results than conservative treatments for rotator cuff tears, which is why conservative treatments such as rest and physical therapy are the preferred first option. However, if you have a severe rotator cuff tear that is not getting better with rest and physical therapy, your doctor may recommend rotator cuff repair surgery.

As with all surgical treatments, this is not a decision made lightly, and your doctor will do a thorough evaluation and review of your injury and health history before determining if surgery is the best option for your joint’s long-term health.

The Procedure

At San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, our surgeons typically use arthroscopy techniques to repair the rotator cuff, requiring only a small incision and resulting in a faster recovery.

Through this small incision, your surgeon will reattach the torn tendons in the rotator cuff to the bone using metal anchors or dissolvable sutures, holding the tendons in place as they heal.

Surgery Risks

All surgeries carry some risks, and those getting a rotator cuff surgery will be placed under anesthesia. It is important to speak to your doctor ahead of time.


Following your surgery, you can go home and rest. You will be given a sling to wear through the healing process, which allows your shoulder to stabilize and prevents additional injury.

Above all else, it is crucial to follow the instructions of your surgeon and physical therapist to avoid pushing your shoulder too far and causing another injury.

You Might Also Enjoy…

Sportsman Preparing for Training 1200x628 facebook 1200x628 1

April 16, 2023

Knee replacement can be tricky to recover from since whatever caused a need for knee replacement likely caused pain that limited activity and exercise. This then leads to supporting muscles that are already weak, which can result in a longer recovery time following surgery. However, a consistent exercise regimen after surgery is crucial for a …

What Is the Best Exercise After Knee Replacement? Read More »

shutterstock 267283118

March 26, 2023

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a common syndrome causing pain, numbness, and tingling in the hand and forearm. It results when the median nerve, one of the hand’s major nerves, is compressed or squeezed at the wrist. This is a condition that often gets worse over time, and leaving it untreated can cause a loss of …

How to Treat Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Read More »

What Causes Osteoarthritis

March 15, 2023

Affecting more than 32.5 million adults in the United States, osteoarthritis is a common source of pain, stiffness, and decreasing range of motion in adults. Characterized by the damage or breakdown of cartilage between bones, osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and typically affects the hips, hands, and knees. With osteoarthritis’ prevalence, it’s …

What Causes Osteoarthritis? Read More »


February 25, 2023

The rotator cuff is a bundle of muscles, tendons, and ligaments in the shoulder that keep the shoulder stable as you lift and twist your arm. Injuries to the rotator cuff are common, with 10% of adults in their 50s and half of those in their 70s having one. Most rotator cuff injuries are related …

How to Prevent Rotator Cuff Injuries Read More »

running with achilles tendonitis feat

February 18, 2023

Those with Achilles tendonitis often search for ways to improve their condition and ease their pain. Exercise offers a form of relief because of its ability to strengthen the calf and heel muscles, which are attached to the tendon. If you are looking for the best exercise for Achilles tendonitis by Tendonitis Specialist, continue reading. …

What is the Best Exercise for Achilles Tendonitis? Read More »

how to diagnose rotator cuff tear

December 20, 2022

The rotator cuff involves muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place. However, the shoulder joint is moved frequently, and those who participate in sports are known to push the limits of their shoulder’s range of motion or repeatedly complete actions that use the rotator cuff, which can result in a tear. Rotator Cuff …

How To Diagnose a Rotator Cuff Tear Read More »

San Diego Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center, Inc., San Diego, CA

Phone (appointments): 619-229-3932

Phone (general inquiries): 619-229-3932

Address: 6719 Alvarado Road, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92120

The Open Payments database is a federal tool used to search payments made by drug and device companies to physicians and teaching hospitals. It can be found at For informational purposes only, a link to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Open Payments web page is provided here. The federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act requires that detailed information about payment and other payments of value worth over ten dollars ($10) from manufacturers of drugs, medical devices, and biologics to physicians and teaching hospitals be made available to the public.

© Copyright 2021 


(22 reviews)