Rotator Cuff Surgery in New Orleans, LA

Rotator Cuff Surgery New Orleans, LAThe shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint comprised of three main bones: the upper arm bone (humerus), the shoulder blade (scapula), and the collarbone (clavicle). The bulbous end of the humerus rests inside the scapula, in a cavity known as the glenoid fossa. This juncture forms the glenohumeral joint, more commonly referred to as the main shoulder joint. The clavicle attaches to the end of the scapula, forming a second joint between the shoulder blade and the collarbone, known as the acromioclavicular (AC) joint. Muscles and ligaments attach to both joints to provide stability and support for the shoulder.

Rotator Cuff Muscles

A group of muscles and tendons known as the rotator cuff attach to the glenohumeral joint to provide stability and help move the shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles attach to the scapula and connect to the humeral head. These muscles stabilize the ball-and-socket joint, which is commonly dislocated or detached due to the nature of the components. Because the humeral head is significantly larger than the socket holding it, the joint has been likened to a golf ball sitting on a golf tee.

Rotator Cuff Injuries

The rotator cuff is prone to overuse injuries, caused by repetitive overhead motions often performed in sports. Baseball pitchers, football quarterbacks, swimmers, boxers, and tennis players commonly sustain rotator cuff tears. Because of the repetitive overhead motions associated with these sports, athletes can excessively strain the rotator cuff muscles, pulling them beyond their means. Over time, this constant strain will lead to muscle tears, significant pain, and shoulder immobility.

Conservative Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment

Rotator cuff injuries can be treated either conservatively or surgically. Non-operative conservative treatments focus on rehabilitation and immobilization to allow the muscles to heal naturally.

RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) is commonly recommended for patients experiencing rotator cuff tears. By resting the joint, applying ice regularly, using a bandage for compression, and elevating the joint above the heart, patients may be able to heal the joint through non-invasive means, without the aid of medication or invasive surgical procedures.

Other conservative treatments include NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) treatment, activity modification, and physical therapy. Conservative approaches often yield favorable results; however, some patients might still experience pain and shoulder immobility due to a rotator cuff tear. If these conservative approaches fail to alleviate shoulder pain, rotator cuff surgery may be recommended.

Surgical Treatment: Rotator Cuff Surgery

When surgery is indicated, rotator cuff tears are best treated arthroscopically. Arthroscopic surgery allows the shoulder surgeon to view the inside of the joint without making large incisions or opening the joint. This approach results in a less invasive surgery compared to open shoulder surgery, with potential benefits including, but not limited to: reduced scarring, less blood loss during surgery, less post-operative pain, and a quicker recovery.

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Surgery

Rotator cuff surgery performed arthroscopically is a minimally invasive procedure that allows the surgeon to mend torn muscles. Arthroscopy involves the use of a tiny camera, known as an “arthroscope.” This camera sends real-time images of the joint from within to a monitor in the operating room. Depending on the unique case of the patient, arthroscopic surgery may be performed on an outpatient basis, allowing the patient to return home the same day.

During an arthroscopic procedure, the surgeon will first make a small incision large enough to fit the arthroscope. In a second incision, the surgeon will insert the operating instruments, which are roughly pencil-sized. The surgeon will remove loose fragments of tendon in the shoulder and repair the torn rotator cuff, sewing the torn edges together and to the top of the arm bone.

Rotator Cuff Surgery in New Orleans, LA

Dr. R. William Junius, III is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon with sub-specialty training in sports medicine. Dr. Junius advocates state-of-the-art minimally invasive surgical techniques for sports medicine, including arthroscopic repair for rotator cuff tears.

To learn more about treatment options for shoulder pain and rotator cuff injuries, schedule an appointment to speak with Dr. Junius at his Metairie, LA office.