The rotator cuff is a group of muscles that wrap around the head of the humerus and ensure efficient movement of the shoulder. Damage to this section of the muscles results in a significant weakening of muscle strength and can make it impossible to lift a limb.
Patients who have damage to their rotator cuff tendons have a wide range of complaints – sometimes with minor damage the pain is very severe and sometimes, despite severe damage and tendon rupture, the patient may feel no pain and be able to move the limb quite freely. Patients may find it difficult to move the limb, especially to lift the arm. Patients may experience a sudden decrease in muscle strength and pain, often described as stabbing, occurring in the shoulder region, sometimes radiating down to the forearm. The pain may also occur at rest – for example, during sleep.
Reconstruction surgeryinvolves identifying the damage and attaching the damaged muscle to the head of the humerus. Then the damaged, unstable and inflamed tissues are cut out and the damaged muscle is sewn to the bone. Most often, special elements anchoring the thread in the bone, the so-called anchors, are used for this type of procedure. They ensure a very strong and stable anastomosis of the damage. Correctly performed surgery restores mobility of the shoulder joint, muscle strength, and reduces pain.
The most commonly performed surgical techniquesfor the shoulder include:
- Classic (open) rotator cuff reconstruction,
- Minimally invasive rotator cuff surgery – mini-open,
- Arthroscopic removal of rotator cuff calcifications,
- Arthroscopic rotator cuff reconstruction.
After discharge the patient can move independently with the limb in a sling or a brace. The patient is advised to do the shoulder exercises. The operated area should also be covered with ice in plastic bags (3-4 times a day for about 30 minutes). Patients are prescribed painkillers, which should be taken regularly for the first few days as prescribed. It is not recommended to change the dressing and soak the wounds yourself. Only after 14 days when the wound is sufficiently healed can it be soaked.
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