Understanding Arthroscopic Double-Row Rotator Cuff Repairs

Each year, doctors see more than 4.5 million rotator cuff injuries in the United States, and approximately 300,000 of them require surgery. In the past, open surgeries were the main way of repairing these injuries. However, advancements in technology and technique have made a way for minimally invasive — or arthroscopic — approaches, which offer better outcomes and shorter recovery times.

At Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida, Thomas F. Saylor, MD, specializes in rotator cuff surgery, including arthroscopic double-row rotator cuff repairs. He shares these insights into this innovative approach to rotator cuff repair.

Rotator cuff basics

Your rotator cuff holds your upper arm in place. This group of four muscles and tendons covers the head of your humerus (upper arm bone) where it fits into the socket of your shoulder blade (scapula). Each of these muscles supports a specific shoulder movement. Together, they keep your arm from popping out of its socket when you lift it away from your body.

Unfortunately, injuries to the rotator cuff are common. They can occur suddenly because of a traumatic event, such as a fall, or over time because of age or repetitive movements. 

The signs of a rotator cuff injury can vary, but they often include:

It’s also possible to have an injury without pain.

Arthroscopic surgery for rotator cuff injuries

Not all rotator cuff tears require surgery. However, if your symptoms persist, or if you have severe damage, Dr. Saylor may recommend surgical intervention. This process usually involves reattaching a damaged tendon to the head of the upper arm bone.

During arthroscopic surgery, Dr. Saylor makes tiny incisions and uses a miniature camera to guide the repair. This minimally invasive surgery offers numerous benefits, including:

In addition to general arthroscopic rotator cuff repair techniques, Dr. Saylor also specializes in double-row rotator cuff repairs.

What sets apart double-row rotator cuff repairs

All arthroscopic rotator cuff repairs can achieve great results, but double-row rotator cuff repairs offer even more enhanced tendon healing.

When performing this procedure, Dr. Saylor increases the repair strength by using two rows of anchors to secure the tendon in place. This increases the tendon-to-bone contact, which helps provide for a better outcome when healing. It also helps increase the strength and durability of the repair and also helps reduce your chances of reinjury while you heal.

A complete recovery from rotator cuff surgery can take up to two years, depending on the extent of your injury, your overall health, and the repair technique. However, since arthroscopic approaches typically cause less trauma to the area, you may be able to recover in a much shorter time.

To learn more about arthroscopic double-row rotator cuff repair, book an appointment online or over the phone with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

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