Located within the shoulder joint and connecting the scapula (shoulder blade) to the humerus (upper arm bone), the rotator cuff is a sophisticated structure composed of a group of tendons and muscles. The rotator cuff’s tendons provide stability to the joint, while the muscles provide rotation. A patient may sustain an injury to the rotator cuff from a sports injury, a fall, repetitive overuse, or tendon degeneration. Rotator cuff injuries can range from a mild sprain to a complete tendon disruption. Rotator cuff repair surgery is generally required in Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado patients in cases that involve a partial or complete tendon tear. Dr. Matthew Provencher, orthopedic shoulder surgeon, offers single row and double row rotator cuff surgery techniques to return patients back to their activities following an injury.
Patients affected by a rotator cuff injury may experience tenderness and sharp pain in the injured shoulder. If ice, rest and medications do not alleviate these troublesome symptoms, Dr. Provencher may recommend a single row or double row rotator cuff repair surgery. Following the surgical procedure, a strict rehabilitation program must be followed by the patient to help ensure a full recovery.
Dr. Provencher specializes in both single row and double row rotator cuff surgery.
- Single row arthroscopic rotator cuff repair- A single row refers to the way the torn rotator cuff tendon is repaired during surgery. In this minimally invasive technique, Dr. Provencher utilizes a single row of sutures to complete the repair.
- Double row arthroscopic rotator cuff repair- A double row repair is also a minimally invasive technique, but this procedure utilizes a double row of sutures to repair the damaged rotator cuff tendon.
The double row repair restores the anatomical rotator cuff “footprint” (exact shape, size and position of the rotator cuff). A single row repair does not recreate the anatomical footprint, but is still effective in many cases. Single row repair is particularly indicated in the older, less active patient population that is less at risk of re-tear, while double row repair is more commonly used in the younger, active patient subgroup.
Both the single row and double row techniques can help patients achieve an active, healthy lifestyle following a rotator cuff injury. Both surgeries are performed arthroscopically so the techniques are minimally invasive, causing less pain, and a quicker return to activities in many patients. Dr. Provencher will select the proper rotator cuff repair surgery technique based on shape of tear, size of tear, and patient’s functional level.
Rotator Cuff Repair Surgery Protocols
Following rotator cuff repair surgery, Dr. Provencher will provide a detailed set of instructions all patients must follow. Each patient will have a plan uniquely designed for them since each rotator cuff injury and repair is unique.
Patients can expect to wear a sling or similar device to immobilize the repaired shoulder for several weeks following surgery. Patients can also expect to participate in a physical therapy program designed to strengthen the shoulder and return full range of motion. It is strongly suggested that patients work with the in-house physical therapists at Howard Head Sports Medicine to optimize their rehabilitation. It is critical patients follow the physical therapy program since it is a critical component in the recovery process. Patients can expect a full recovery in approximately one year following both single row and double row rotator cuff surgery techniques.
For more information on rotator cuff repair surgery, or to learn more about single row and double row techniques, please contact the orthopedic office of Dr. Matthew Provencher located in the Vail, Aspen and Denver, Colorado area.