A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury that can cause pain, discomfort and weakness in the shoulder joint. In cases where conservative treatment methods fail to resolve a patient’s symptoms, surgical rotator cuff repair is often recommended. For more severe tears, surgery may be considered right away. When deciding whether to undergo surgery, patients should discuss details of the procedure with their orthopedic surgeon. Among other questions, they should ask, “How long is recovery after rotator cuff surgery?” Understanding the surgery and recovery period is essential so the patient can prepare and get the best possible results from the procedure.
How Long is Recovery after Rotator Cuff Surgery?
Here is a general overview of the rehabilitation timeline you can expect following surgical rotator cuff repair:
- – The day of the procedure – Rotator cuff surgery is an outpatient procedure that typically takes a few hours. Generally, it does not require an overnight hospital stay. Once the surgery is complete, your arm will be placed in a sling. You will be kept at the hospital until your pain is well managed with medication.
- – Days after surgery: Minimizing discomfort – Your orthopedic surgeon will prescribe medication to help keep you comfortable upon returning home. You should take this medication as directed to manage the shoulder pain and discomfort you are likely to feel in the days after surgery. Icing your shoulder and sleeping in a semi-upright position with your elbow pointed downward are two other important steps for pain control.
- – Weeks after surgery: Resuming motion & strengthening – Once your orthopedic surgeon decides you are ready, you will remove your sling and begin physical therapy. For most patients, this phase of recovery begins about 4-6 weeks after surgery. You will start by performing passive motion, which involves your therapist moving your shoulder in a way that does not place tension on it. Then, you will move on to active motion, or moving your arm on your own without resistance. Finally, you will progress to exercises designed to strengthen your shoulder and restore normal function.
- – Months after surgery: Achieving total recovery – Most patients get their orthopedic surgeon’s approval to resume normal activities approximately 4-6 months after undergoing rotator cuff surgery. However, keep in mind that complete rehabilitation may take a bit longer depending on individual factors. These include the size of your tear and your body’s natural healing rate.
Hopefully, this outline has helped you understand what to expect in terms of the answer to “how long is recovery after rotator cuff surgery?” If you’re considering this procedure, your orthopedic surgeon can provide a clearer picture of what your personal recovery timeline is likely to be given your individual circumstances.
Visit Dr. Soffer to Explore Your Rotator Cuff Treatment Options
If you’re experiencing symptoms of a torn rotator cuff, it’s important to seek treatment as soon as possible to prevent the tear from becoming any worse. For dependable, patient-centered shoulder care in the Reading, PA area, come to shoulder specialist Dr. Stephen Soffer. Dr. Soffer specializes in Arthroscopic Shoulder surgery and teaches a course on this to other orthopedic surgeons.
Committed to helping patients get maximum pain relief using advanced, minimally invasive methods, Dr. Soffer is here to help you find your best treatment option. To schedule an appointment with him, call our office today at 610-375-4949. We look forward to helping you recover from your shoulder injury so that you can resume your normal life.