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Doctor insights on: Average Recovery Time For Rotator Cuff Surgery

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Dr. Bradley Butkovich
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
21 years in practice
786K people helped
1

1
How much time will i be out of work after having rotator cuff surgery?

How much time will i be out of work after having rotator cuff surgery?

Time off varies: Surgery is typically outpatient takes 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. Recovery is 3-4 months. If you have a relatively sedentary job you can be back to work in a matter of days or weeks in a sling. IF you have a labor intensive job it will be difficult to work unless you can find light duty. You can typically drive once you are off pain meds and out of the sling which varies from 3-4 weeks. ...Read more

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Dr. Peter Kurzweil
Board Certified
44 years in practice
16M people helped
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Dr. Tim Conrad
5 doctors shared insights

Rotator Cuff (Definition)

The rotator cuff is a group of four muscles that wrap around the ball of the ball and socket joint f the shoulder. The cuff muscles initiate the movements of internal and external rotation as well as lifting your arm ...Read more


Dr. Rajeev Pandarinath
Board Certified, Sports Medicine
15 years in practice
33K people helped
2

2
One year after rotator cuff surgery it seems an anchor has dislodged is repair and recovery as bad as original surgery? Work is very phys. Demanding

One year after rotator cuff surgery it seems an anchor has dislodged  is repair and recovery as bad as original surgery? Work is very phys. Demanding

Hard to predict: If the anchor is just being retrieved, the pain will be minimal compared to your previous surgery. Most of the time, however, the rotator cuff will need to be re-repaired, which should be similar to the recovery from your first surgery. ...Read more

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Dr. Peter Kurzweil
Board Certified
44 years in practice
16M people helped
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Dr. David Bailie
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
25 years in practice
310K people helped
3

3
This is my second rotator cuff surgery on the same shoulder in the last 7 months. What is the chance this could happen a third time... ?

This is my second rotator cuff surgery on the same shoulder in the last 7 months. What is the chance this could happen a third time...
               ?

Depends on why : Most common reason for failure is technical followed by poor tissue. Many variables that should be checked to determine why first one failed need to discuss with your surgeon or get a second opinion by fellowship trained shoulder specialist. ...Read more

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Dr. Jeffrey Visotsky
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
30 years in practice
360K people helped
4

4
I had rotator cuff surgery in 1998.. Now when i lift it just work it cracks all the time. Did i undo the surgery?

I had rotator cuff surgery in 1998.. Now when i lift it just work it cracks all the time. Did i undo the surgery?

Retear : It is possible to retear your rotator cuff. If you are having pain, weakness or limited motion i would have it evaluated by previous orthopaedic surgeon. ...Read more

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Dr. Peter Kurzweil
Board Certified
44 years in practice
16M people helped
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Dr. Richard Pollard
Board Certified, Anesthesiology
24 years in practice
3M people helped
5

5
Is massage good four months after a rotator cuff surgery? I stay tight all the time.

Is massage good four months after a rotator cuff surgery? I stay tight all the time.

It can't hurt: As long as the massage therapist is not trying to manipulate the joint then a massage should not be able to hurt the surgical repair. Talk to your surgeon if you have specific questions. ...Read more

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Dr. Tracy Berg
Board Certified, General Surgery
26 years in practice
9M people helped
6

6
Is surgery for a rotator cuff minor tear really needed? How long is the surgery? How many days will she be in the hospital? Recovery process?

Is surgery for a rotator cuff minor tear really needed? How long is the surgery? How many days will she be in the hospital? Recovery process?

Second opinion: Rotator cuff tear has options for care. Start with physical therapy. Add laprascopic repair if not better. Okay to talk with your primary, your surgery team and a second opinion to get a full understanding of your options. Be well. ...Read more

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Dr. Shawn Hennigan
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
21 years in practice
620K people helped
7

7
How long is the recovery period after rotator cuff surgery?

Rotator cuff repair: Surgery to re-attach a torn rotator cuff tendon typically takes 6 weeks for preliminary healing of tendon to bone. At 6 weeks, the sling is discontinued. Physical therapy is helpful initially to regain range of motion of the shoulder. Once rom has been restored, aditional pt to regain strength and function. By 6 months, most patients are pretty functional. Full recovery 9-12 months. Good luck! ...Read more

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Dr. Addagada Rao
Board Certified, General Surgery
50 years in practice
25M people helped
8

8
On 6/12 I had rotator cuff surgery for full tear in 2 tendons. Doc thinks I re-tore it.surgery will be more difficult a 2nd time. Why is this?

Because: after surgery , will develop lot of scar tissue and adhesions to adjacent tissues , normal tissue planes are masked and scar tissue to scar tissue stitches will not hold as with out scar ( first surgery ) most likely your surgeon will do tests like MRI may be additional physiotherapy before reoperation Speak to your surgeon ...Read more

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Dr. Dennis Crawford
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
20 years in practice
1K people helped
9

9
Can i heal my rotator cuff injury without surgery? I fell a couple of months ago and tore my rotator cuff muscle. The dr. Says i need surgery, but I am hesitant, because that would mean a long recovery. I am self-employed and i can't make a living witho

Omaha, : Omaha, your concerns regarding recovery and it's effects on your livelihood are extremely important in the decision making process. In the past few years, I have noted an increasing level of awareness about the length of recovery and the downside of limited activity. As you make your decision about how to maximize your recovery and minimize your down time, you are asking many important questions. In this regard, i essentially agree with all the advice you have been provided in the other fine answers. Specifically, the time line to maximal recovery and impact on your life and work will depend on several factors. Principally the pre-injury condition of your shoulder and the nature and extent of the current tear. Also if this your dominant arm and what kind of work you do specifically. If this is a new tear in an otherwise healthy shoulder a full symptomatic recovery can be expected. This may occur with rehab exercises and time (a few months) if the tear is small and partial thickness although this is not always the case as not everyone responds in this manner. In that case, or if your injury is larger and full thickness, surgery is the only method to restore the anatomy and reconnect the tendon to your bone. After surgery, depending on the size of your tear, your general health, the skill of your surgeon and success and compliance with rehab, return to work can be anywhere from a week or 2 to as much 4- 6 months. The range in return to work is very much dependent on what you do for a living. If you are a laborer, carrying and moving objects or a surgeon for example. It will take about 4 months (+/- 2) depending on the size of the tear and the success with your rehab. If you have a desk type job with minimal lifting, most folks can start typing in about 1-2 weeks and performing for a full day after about 2 weeks. Of course this assumes that you no longer require narcotic pain medication as this can effect your decision making. Patients tend to vary in this requirement, but I have seen many folks who discontinue pain medication after cuff repair surgery within the first 2 weeks, only needing it at nite for help sleeping or after a pt session. Of course if it is your dominant arm and you are a baseball pitcher the situation is very different as your recovery demands would be much greater for full performance. As for your question about "steroids" and "self healing". In general injections like steroids reduce the ability of tissue to heal by reducing inflammation. Although this often makes the shoulder feel much better, it often masks the symptoms of the tear. This can have benefit, like improved ability to do physical therapy and return to work. However, I am very careful in using steroids in the shoulder, because if one masks a true rotator cuff tear and if the tear is present for too long, it can increase in size and actually become unrepairable in worst cases. As such, i reserve the use of steroids injections for folks with "impingement syndrome" and no tears and others who have a frozen shoulder, a seperate condition beyond the scope of your questions. I hope this is helpful. Good luck dennis c. Crawford md, phd. ...Read more

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Dr. David Bailie
Board Certified, Orthopedic Surgery
25 years in practice
310K people helped
10

10
If a patient has rotator cuff surgery and bicep tendion tear surgery in the same day what is the expected time off work? Patient also had complication upon waking up from surgery. Patient woke up with elevated blood glucose levels of more than 300 and ha

If a patient has rotator cuff surgery and bicep tendion tear surgery in the same day what is the expected time off work? Patient also had complication upon waking up from surgery.  Patient woke up with elevated blood glucose levels of more than 300 and ha

Long: Much depends on size of tear, method and quality of repair. It can vary from 4-6 weeks in a sling. Time off work depends on what "work" is... For an athlete, could be a year. For a secretary, a week. Be sure to ask the surgeon. ...Read more

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Dr. Peter Kurzweil
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44 years in practice
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