9 February 2018,

rotator cuff surgery timeline

A rotator cuff tear is a common shoulder injury marked by pain, weakness, a popping/clicking sensation in the arm and trouble lifting things. While many rotator cuff tears can be treated non-surgically, sometimes surgery is needed to resolve the symptoms. If you need surgery, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the typical rotator cuff surgery timeline.

One surgical option to treat rotator cuff tears is arthroscopic superior capsular reconstruction of the shoulder (SCR), a new treatment for patients with very severe or chronic rotator cuff tears. Dr. Soffer is an arthroscopic surgery expert and is the only surgeon in the Berks County PA area who performs this new procedure. SCR is a grafting technique that restores stability to the shoulder joint, resulting in better function and less pain.

Rotator Cuff Surgery Timeline

Here’s what can generally be expected in terms of recovery time for SCR and other rotator cuff surgeries:

  • – Immobilization (Hours after surgery)Immediately after your rotator cuff surgery, your arm will be placed in a sling to immobilize it. Your orthopedic surgeon will release you from the medical facility once your pain is under control.
  • – Pain management (Days after surgery) – The main goal during this portion of the rotator cuff surgery timeline is to minimize your discomfort as you heal. With guidance from your orthopedic surgeon, you can apply ice to your shoulder and take prescribed pain relievers or Tylenol.
  • – Physical therapy (Weeks after surgery) – Generally speaking, rotator cuff surgery patients are able to take off their slings about 4-6 weeks after surgery. You will perform passive motions with the help of your physical therapist to get your shoulder accustomed to moving in a way that does not put tension on the repair. Next will come active motion, or moving your arm on your own. Finally, you will focus on strength exercises to help you return to your normal activities.
  • – Full recovery (Months after surgery) – For most rotator cuff tear surgeries, a substantial amount of recovery happens within about 4-6 months. It may take longer depending on the size of your rotator cuff tear, your body’s natural healing rate and other factors. To avoid further damage, be sure to get approval from your orthopedic surgeon before resuming your normal activities.


Now that you are acquainted with the rotator cuff surgery timeline, you are ready to make a well-informed choice regarding whether SCR or another rotator cuff procedure is appropriate for you.

Trust Dr. Soffer for Expert Rotator Cuff Repair

If you suspect that you may be in need of rotator cuff surgery, it’s time to consult a skilled orthopedic surgeon such as Dr. Stephen R. Soffer. As one of America’s Top Doctors, Dr. Soffer possesses expertise in diagnosing and repairing rotator cuff tears using effective, minimally invasive procedures such as SCR. To learn more about this procedure or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Soffer, call our office at 610-375-4949. We look forward to helping you get your shoulder back to normal as quickly as possible.

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