Rotator Cuff Repair Summary

The rotator cuff is part of the shoulder. When functional, the rotator cuff is what enables you to rotate, raise and lower your arm. When the rotator cuff becomes injured or damage the strength and mobility of the shoulder and arm can be limited significantly.

Then non-surgical treatment fails to restore strength and mobility surgical rotator cuff repair is merited. Rotator cuff repair can be done in one of three ways, open, mini-open or arthroscopic. These methods are all done in an operating room using either general anesthesia or a nerve block.

You may qualify for a rotator cuff repair if:

  • Your injury has failed to heal after 3-6 months of physical therapy
  • You are young and need full shoulder function and strength
  • You are in optimal health, giving you the ability to heal properly and commit to rehabilitation

Length of the procedure: 1 to 3 hours

Hospital Stay: Depending on the method used you will be hospitalized 0 to 3 days after rotator cuff repair.

Recovery before traveling home: Patients seeking rotator cuff repair through medical tourism can return home within 24 to 72 hours in most cases.

Procedure Details

Your surgery begins with the administration of anesthesia, either general or nerve block. Then, you shoulder is prepped with a sterile antiseptic wash. Before the surgeon begins operating he or she will examine the shoulder for stability and range of motion.

The surgeon will begin operating by making the necessary incisions. They will examine the damage to the rotator cuff before making any repairs. Then, they will repair the rotator cuff by reattaching the muscle that has detached from the bone. This is done with screws or stitches. They may need to remove bone fragments or spurs, shave bone repair tendons or shave bone down to repair the rotator cuff.

After the Procedure

After the procedure you will be taken to recovery. You will monitored for about 2 hours and either released or admitted to a room after that time. You will be given pain medication to ease discomfort and prescribed physical therapy to ensure optimal healing.

Physical therapy may include:

  • Extensions of the wrist, elbow and hand
  • Flexing the wrist, elbow and hand
  • Stretches of the arm and shoulder
  • Strength Building exercise

Things to expect during postoperative healing:

  • One month recovery
  • Immobility of arm and shoulder
  • Use of an arm sling


The prognosis for rotator cuff repair is good and the surgery can restore normal function in most cases. Generally, it is best to have rotator cuff repair done relatively soon after injury or damage occurs. The greater the damage or tear to the rotator cuff the less likely it will be successfully repaired.

Risks and Complications

As is with any surgery there are risks associated with rotator cuff repair. The following is a list of the most common risks and complications: As is with any surgery there are risks associated with meniscus repair surgery. However, it is important to note that the risks are relatively uncommon. The following is a list of the most common risks and complications:

  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Blood clots
  • Arterial damage
  • Inflammation
  • Stiffness
  • Weakness
  • Damage of the deltoid tendon
  • Damage of the deltoid muscle
  • Nerve damage
  • Need for repeat repair caused by improper healing
  • Reflex sympathetic dystrophy

Any concerns you have regarding these risks before or after the procedure should be discussed with your surgeon promptly.

Contact your physician if:
  • Swelling increases
  • Pain increases
  • Bleeding is excessive or uncontrolled
  • Drainage from incision occurs
  • Nausea or vomiting develops
  • Fever is uncontrolled with Tylenol or ibuprofen
  • Dizziness develops
  • Headache occurs
  • Muscle aches are severe