Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is a group of 4 muscles in the shoulder. These muscles help to move and stabilize the shoulder.


  • Shoulder pain.
  • Possible weakness.
  • Some tears are the direct result of an injury. In other cases, no injury is identified.


  • X-rays are taken to evaluate for arthritis or fracture.
  • Ultrasound or MRI is used to evaluate the rotator cuff tendons.


  • Some rotator cuff tears can be treated without surgery (corticosteroid injection and/or physical therapy exercises).
  • Rotator cuff repair can usually be performed arthroscopically. The torn tendon is reattached to the bone.

Post-operative Care:

  • Outpatient procedure, patients go home the same day as surgery.
  • A sling is worn for 4-6 weeks. Gentle range of motion exercises may be recommended by the physician.
  • Physical therapy usually begins 2-6 weeks post-operatively (exact time frame depends on the individual surgery and surgeon preference)
  • Physical therapy is used to restore range of motion and strength.
  • Most patients need 3-4 months of formal physical therapy after surgery. Patients then continue a stretching and strengthening program at home once therapy is completed.
  • Full recovery takes approximately 6-9 months.