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Rotator Cuff Repair: Healthy Life Report

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BACKGROUND: The rotator cuff is made up of the muscles and tendons in the shoulder. These muscles and tendons connect the upper arm bone with the shoulder blade. They also help hold the ball of the upper arm bone in the shoulder socket. A rotator cuff injury can happen any time there is irritation or damage to the rotator cuff muscles or tendons. Some common causes may include falling, lifting or repetitive arm activities such as throwing a baseball. Heavy lifting or pulling, poor posture, and tendinitis may also be to blame.
PREVENTION: For people who've had past rotator cuff injuries, daily shoulder stretches and a shoulder-strengthening program can help prevent a recurrence. For people at risk for rotator cuff injuries, doctors may suggest performing regular shoulder exercises, taking frequent breaks at work if their jobs require repetitive arm and shoulder motions, resting shoulders during sports that require repetitive arm use and applying cold packs and heat pads when there is shoulder pain or inflammation.
TREATMENTS: According to the Mayo Clinic, treatment for rotator cuff injuries involves exercise therapy most of the time. Other treatments may include:
Steroids Injections: This therapy involves a doctor using a corticosteroid injection to relieve inflammation and pain.
Surgery: This may be an option for large tears. Sometimes, doctors may remove a bone spur or calcium deposits during surgery.
Arthroplasty: Rotator cuff tears may contribute to severe arthritis over time. Doctors may use more extensive surgical options including a partial shoulder replacement (hemiarthroplasty) or total shoulder replacement (prosthetic arthroplasty).
Ball-and-socket prosthesis: This is a treatment option that is now available for people who have very difficult shoulder problems. It involves using a reverse shoulder prosthesis.
A NEW OPTION: Now, there's a new surgical option that's helping people with rotator cuff injuries. An arthroscopic repair called Net Bridge uses anchors, sutures and a special fibertape to create a net that compresses and holds the tendon to bone. It provides extra protection and strength while the patient moves. This procedure is designed to provide more support and anchoring than the traditional single row or even double row rotator cuff repair. "We know that the supraspinatus, which is one of your rotator cuff tendons, can generate a maximum force of about 300 Newtons," Kevin Kaplan, M.D., an orthopedic surgeon at Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute in Jacksonville, Fla., told Ivanhoe. "This repair technique can withstand a force of up to 500 Newtons." The new surgery doesn't require an overnight hospital stay, and patients can resume active motion within six weeks.

Kevin Kaplan, MD
Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute/Baptist Medical Center
Jacksonville, FL

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