If you’ve been diagnosed with a torn rotator cuff, you may be considering surgery to correct it. As with any surgery, it’s important to understand what the surgery entails and be prepared.
The rotator cuff is of a group of muscles in a semi-circle around the shoulder to stabilize and strengthen its movement.
Depending on the location and severity of the tear, a rotator cuff injury may not require surgery—instead, it can be treated with nonsurgical measures such as rest, physical therapy, and/or injections.
But if surgery is required, don’t fear. Rotator cuff surgery is usually successful, and patients who undergo it find relief from pain and other symptoms.
Who is a candidate for surgery?
Most people who would benefit from rotator cuff surgery can be given the okay to have it done.
However, there are two groups of people who need to postpone or avoid rotator cuff surgery:
- People with a torn rotator cuff and frozen shoulder.
Adhesive capsulitis, also known as frozen shoulder, is an injury that causes stiffness or limited range of motion in the shoulder. Rehabilitation from rotator cuff surgery requires shoulder stretches and movement, so the surgery is not recommended for those with frozen shoulder, at least until the condition resolves.
- People with conditions like arthritis, obesity, former shoulder injuries, or depression.
Doctors and patients with these conditions may decide to move forward on a case-by-case basis, but they’re odds for a successful surgery are diminished.
6 tips to help you prepare for rotator cuff surgery
You can help you chances of having a successful procedure and swift recovery by being prepared.
Get ready for rotator cuff surgery by taking the following steps:
- Check about medication you take. You’ll need to stop taking medications like blood thinners or NSAIDS two weeks before surgery.
- Arrange for help. You won’t be able to drive for a few weeks after surgery and you’ll need some help around the house, so make arrangement accordingly.
- Have ready loose-fitting shirts that open in the front. Look for shirts the button or zip on. The goal is to avoid shirts you have to pull over your head.
- Stock up on easy-to-prepare meals. While you’re at it, move frequently used pots, dishes, and utensils to counter height.
- Consider getting tools that will make bathing easier, like a shower chair or detachable shower head.
- Stock up on pillows. A few extra will be helpful to support your shoulder when sitting or lying down.
Surgery is never fun, but with a little preparation beforehand and commitment to rehabilitation afterward, you can be on your way to shoulder recovery with less pain and better function.