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Rotator Cuff Injuries/Problems

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What you can expect from arthroscopic surgery for impingement problems (spur removal) is at least improvement in your pain with activities. After any shoulder procedure, there is a chance that you may have some occasional soreness. More often than not, there is some wear and degenerative changes in the tendon, and it is not unusual to have some occasional, residual soreness in the shoulder.

If you have a repair of a torn rotator cuff, then you can expect significant improvement in your pain and improved function and motion of the shoulder. Again, after any shoulder procedure, you may have occasional soreness episodically due to scarring following surgery.


Inadequate pain relief can occur but is not common or usual. Large rotator cuff tears repaired under tension can pull apart and fail. If this happens, you should still get improvement in your pain, but function or motion would probably not be improved. Loss of range of motion can also occur secondary to inadequate relief of pain and/or inadequate rehabilitation.

Other complications such as infection and blood clots can occur but are extremely rare in my experience. If infection occurs, it is a serious problem and could possibly cause the surgery to fail and probably make the shoulder feel worse.

Anesthetic complications can occur. These complications and the type of anesthetic will be discussed with you by an anesthesiologist on the day of surgery. You will either go to sleep (general anesthesia) or have some local anesthetic injected at the base of the neck to numb the shoulder and entire arm (interscalene block). You would remain awake but sedated during the procedure. This latter method is my preferred and recommended method of anesthesia for shoulder surgery as it also gives excellent post-operative pain relief.

*The information contained in this patient education packet is intended to help you and your families/caretakers better understand a particular diagnosis and/or the treatment options available. If you have any questions after reading this, please don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Longobardi’s office at 201.343.1717 for a further explanation. Thank you.

revised March 2007

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