Shoulder joints along with knee joints are the most used joints in the human body. Any movements and postures in human beings are aided by the joint bones and the muscles. Naturally, the shoulder and knee joints after a while undergo stress and wear and tear. Some of the minor wear and tears can be easily repaired and some require observation, care and treatment for healing. Rotator cuff tear is one such injury that needs to be supervised by an expert and treatment methodologies used as an intervention. Rotator cuffs is compressed of a group of muscles in the shoulder joint deep to deltoid muscles. Rotator cuffs aid in the smoother movement of the shoulder joint beyond 60°. Injuries in sports, fall or major accidents may be the causes for tears in the rotator cuff tendons. Occurring mainly to adults and those using this joint for repeat activities for longer periods, rotator cuff injury can result in continuous pain, numbness and subsequent weakness to the joint and pain radiating to the arm.

Need for Arthroscopy

Rotator cuff tears are usually a painful condition. The injury to the rotator cuff may result in continued pain and burning sensation that may lead to pain in the arm in time. This usually occurs during a motion of the shoulder joints but may end up with an inability to perform daily routine tasks. A common rehabilitation of the joint may not be enough in situations. The conventional approach of therapy and strengthening exercises may not always yield the desired result if the rotator cuff tear is advanced. Continuing symptoms mentioned earlier may require the patient to undergo advanced interventions- the most effective of which is rotator cuff reconstruction or repair through Arthroscopy. Arthroscopy helps the doctor to arrive at an exact diagnosis and also know the exact nature of the tear. The doctor would use the help of X-Rays and MRI scan to know the depth of the injury. Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair is suggested for patients who show symptoms of pain even after the initial rehabilitation process or those patients who are involved in contact sports, adventure sports and the ones who are dependent on the shoulder joints or muscles for laborious works.

Arthroscopic procedure

Arthroscopy is a simple yet highly effective treatment to repair a damaged rotator cuff. General anaesthesia is administered on the patient. Similar to endoscopy, in this process, small incisions are made by the surgeon on the shoulder joint. He then inserts an Arthroscope- a tubular device with a light source and a video camera at one end and the other end attached to a video output screen. The camera transmits the images which tell the surgeon about the progress in the surgical process. In the repair process, the rotator cuff tear is identified and tendons are reattached to the healthy tissue on the bones using sutures anchors. These suture anchors can be titanium ro dissolving type. Once the surgery is complete and the arthroscope removed, the incisions are closed. The procedure leaves no permanent skin or body damage and the patient will recuperate well with conventional therapy and rehabilitation means.

Post-surgical care

Any surgery requires the patient to take adequate care of the body especially the affected area that has been operated on. The patient must take care not to give undue stress and tension to the area. The rehabilitation program requires the patient to keep the arm in an abduction splint for 3 weeks and would also need to take the pain medications for the initial period after the procedure as and when required. The patient may also experience swelling in the area which is normal and the result of the surgery and incisions. Sutures are removed after 2 weeks. The shoulder joint must not be used/rotated or moved for any activity for at least 3-4 weeks post-surgery, the completion of which he may start minimal exercises and activities that do not stress the shoulder joint. The patient is advised counselling and therapeutic support of a physical therapist in the first few months post-surgery. The patient can resume normal risk-free, non-strenuous activities and routines after a month of surgery. After 5-6 months, he can return to his normal life and activities involved before the treatment, to be resumed with care and precaution to avoid any future similar occurrences.