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Rotator Cuff Repair

  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:


Rotator Cuff Repair


A rotator cuff repair treats damage to the muscles and tendons that support the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Tear.

nucleus imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=49874987EW00021_ma.jpgEW00021_maNULLjpgtorn rotator cuffNULL\\filer01a\Intellect\images\EW00021_ma.jpgNULL17NULL2004-04-292803804987_14859Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Reasons for Procedure

This surgery is done on people who are not helped by other methods. It is also done to treat a complete tear or when pain and weakness limit activities.

Possible Complications

Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Problems from anesthesia, such as wheezing and sore throat
  • Infection
  • Blood clots
  • Weakness or numbness in shoulder joint
  • Detachment of the shoulder muscle
  • Surgery does not improve function

Things that may raise the risk of problems are:

  • Smoking
  • Chronic conditions, such as diabetes or obesity
  • Drinking excess alcohol

What to Expect

Problems to Look Out For

Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:

  • Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
  • Redness, swelling, a lot of bleeding, or discharge from the wounds
  • Pain that you cannot control with medicine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
  • Stitches or staples that come apart

If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

Prior to Procedure

The surgical team may meet with you to talk about:

  • Anesthesia options
  • Any allergies you may have
  • Current medicines, herbs, and supplements that you take and whether you need to stop taking them before surgery
  • Fasting before surgery, such as avoiding food or drink after midnight the night before
  • Arranging for a ride to and from surgery




  • American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS). Management of Rotator Cuff Injuries Clinical Practice Guideline. AAOS 2019 Mar 11.
  • Rotator cuff tear. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/rotator-cuff-tear.
  • Rotator cuff tears: surgical treatment options. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons website. Available at: https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/treatment/rotator-cuff-tears-surgical-treatment-options.


  • Warren A. Bodine, DO, CAQSM
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.