Repairing rotator cuff tears can present a challenge for patients and orthopaedic specialists. Nonoperative treatments for active individuals can result in significant impairment in daily function and quality-of-life, so the preferred treatment is often surgical repair.
Advances in Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery
The latest advancement in rotator cuff repair has been the development of an entirely arthroscopic technique to repair torn muscles with minimal disruption to the tissues. This arthroscopic approach allows shoulder surgeons to achieve a very secure fix of the torn tendons while also minimizing the presence of irritating suture knots in the articular spaces of the shoulder. Research shows us that this approach allows for optimal results, quick healing, and a better return to full function after rehabilitation.
The two main advances in arthroscopic rotator cuff repair that allow orthopaedic surgeons to optimize our patient outcomes are:
- Knotless Anchor Technology – Traditional rotator cuff surgeries rely on suture knots to help strengthen torn tendons. In some cases, these knots would sometimes irritate a patient’s joint after surgery – leading to revision surgery for optimal shoulder movement. The latest knotless anchor technology allows sports medicine surgeons to minimize the need for revision surgery by to address prominent irritating knots that arive after arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery.
- Use of Bioabsorbable Materials – Bioabsorbable materials give should surgeons the opportunity to perform very robust rotator cuff repairs with multiple implants without leaving multiple foreign bodies in the shoulder for the long term. Since these materials are absorbed into the body, patients who undergo these procedures have minimized risk of complications or irritation in the shoulder in the future.
Given these advancements, nonoperative treatment of rotator cuff tears has now become the rare exception rather than the rule.
Remember, if you develop pain and difficulty with mobility after a shoulder injury and significant weakness, it is imperative that you visit with a fellowship trained arthroscopic shoulder surgeon for evaluation.
About Dr. Alexander Aboka
Alexander M. Aboka, MD, MPH, is an orthopaedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, arthroscopy, minimally invasive ACL reconstruction, reverse total shoulder replacement, hip labrum tear repair, and shoulder and knee reconstructive surgery. He completed an orthopaedic sports medicine fellowship at the Cincinnati Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, with advanced training in sports medicine, modern arthroscopy, and shoulder and knee reconstructive surgery. He speaks English and Spanish.
For more information about our sports medicine program, or to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Aboka, our fellowship trained arthroscopic shoulder surgery specialist, please call Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists (VOSS) today at 757.673.5680.