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A member asked:

Do i need arthroscopy or open surgery? my doctor thinks i have torn my rotator cuff and is referring me to an orthopedic surgeon. can my injury be repaired with arthroscopy, or will i need an open surgery?

4 doctor answers6 doctors weighed in
Dr. Jim Hsu
Dr. Jim Hsuanswered
Sports Medicine 29 years experience
Hello: Arthroscopic : Hello: arthroscopic rotator cuff repair technique does offer some advantages, but so does the open technique in other ways. For many years, before the "toys" necessary for arthroscopic rotator cuff repair were invented and implemented (suture anchors, strong sutures, suture passing devices), open was the way to go. Over the past ten to 15 years arthroscopic pioneers have refined the tools and techniques so that now it is very feasible to do cuff repairs arthroscopically for those surgeons interested to learn and spend the time to do these repairs. My personal belief is that the arthroscopic technique offers more advantages than downsides in my hands, so that's my technique of choice if I am to do my best for my patient. Another surgeon may feel differently, and that's perfectly legitimate. The most important thing is still your rapport with the surgeon: meet the surgeon and see if you feel comfortable with him/her and feel confident in the surgeon's command of the condition and the answers to your questions. If you do feel comfortable, that is a far more important indication of a good way to go than to pick surgeons based on techniques first.
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Dr. Donald Kucharzyk
Orthopedic Surgery 40 years experience
Arthroscopic repair: Most common shoulder conditions can be addressed thru an arthroscopic procedure with minimally incisions and most importantly proper rehabilitation postoperative. A large tear may at times require an open approach but this is occasional. Your rotator cuff can be repaired based upon your clinical examination and MRI imaging thru an arthroscopic approach.
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Dr. Bradley Butkovich
Orthopedic Surgery 28 years experience
Arthroscopy RC: If you truly have a torn rotator cuff and you are relatively active and not bedridden you should get it fixed. In other words most of the time we do fix them. Arthroscopy has become the primary means of fixing rotator cuffs. A sport medicine or shoulder orthopaedist can help you with this. Surgery is typically outpatient takes 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Recovery is 3-4 months.
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Dr. Mark Hutchinson
Orthopedic Surgery 35 years experience
I agree with most of the above except either technique open or arthroscopic has similar results. Ask which one your doctor does best
Jan 7, 2014
Dr. Zubin Khubchandani
Orthopedic Surgery 26 years experience
Either: Can be repaired thru scope or open.
Created for people with ongoing healthcare needs but benefits everyone.
Last updated Feb 6, 2019


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