announcement

Help someone with useful health advice.

Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery

Rotator Cuff Surgery Recovery

The rotator cuff surgery recovery time can take as long as six months. The recovery after rotator cuff surgery can be divided in five stages. Following the instructions given for each stage strictly, will prove to be of great help.
Kalpana Kumari
Last Updated: Apr 9, 2018
Rotator cuff is a series of tendons that cover the shoulder. These tendons may get weak after the age of 40 and may even tear. This may cause extreme pain and discomfort. As the tear cannot heal on its own, rotator cuff surgery is conducted. It is mostly an outpatient procedure and generally do not require hospital stay. However, depending upon the severity of injury, you may have to undergo months of rehabilitation.
Recovery From the Surgery
The time required for recovering from rotator cuff surgery may vary from person to person. In this article we have divided the recovery time in five different stages. It starts with pain management techniques and ends till you are able to use your arm normally and comfortably. The procedure of rotator cuff surgery involves cutting of skin, release of scar tissue, surgical joining of tendons and bone.
Stage 1
Stage 1 focuses on bringing the postoperative pain under control. You can include the days immediately after the surgery. The pain management in this case is done by strong medications such as morphine or Demerol. They are administered either intravenously or intramuscularly. After the completion of two weeks, analgesics such as hydrocodone or Tylenol with codone are taken orally. However, analgesics may cause drowsiness, bradycardia, constipation, nausea and allergic reactions. It is seen that analgesics do not produce effective results on those who have recently been taking substantial narcotic drugs. If this is the case with you, you must inform your doctor before undergoing rotator cuff surgery.
You can manage your shoulder pain quite well, if you follow a simple technique. The technique is that you should take small doses of pain killers at the very early signs of pain instead of taking larger doses on experiencing severe pain. Most doctors prefer alternating narcotic drugs with an anti-inflammatory medication. Many patients get relief from pain placing ice pack on the shoulder.
Stage 2
Stage 2 involves passive motion of the shoulder. You are supposed to move your shoulder without exerting much strain on it. If the tear is small, this stage may last only for two weeks but if the tear is large and severe then it may take nearly 6 weeks to cross this stage. It is very important that you move your shoulder without straining the repair. A physiotherapist can help you perform these movement with ease and in an appropriate manner.
Stage 3
By this stage your tendons are healed adequately to perform active motion with your arms but without exerting extra pressure on your shoulder. It lasts for almost 12 weeks from the day of surgery.
Stage 4
The stage 4 is meant to strengthen the rotator cuff muscle and is the most important phase. It helps you to resume your normal activity level. This stage starts only when the rotator cuff muscle has completely healed. Some workouts with the help of light resistance bands and weights is recommended.
Stage 5
Depending upon the size of the rotator cuff tear and body's natural ability to repair the tendons, the complete recovery can take 4-6 months. However, in some cases, it may take even longer. Your doctor will help you to understand various phases or stages of the recovery and will guide you according to the severity of your surgery.
How to Get a Good Sleep After the Surgery
Sleeping after the rotator curve surgery can be very difficult and even a slight pain can disturb your sleep. A recliner bed may help a lot in getting a good sleep. But if you do not have a recliner then you can keep lots of pillows to support your back and you can sleep in a seated position. Sleeping pills can also help in getting peaceful sleep. But takes these pills only after consulting your doctor.
Important Things to Keep in Mind
  • Avoid playing contact sports for 6-12 months as it may cause complications.
  • Follow all the instructions of your physiotherapist. Do not try to do the exercises on your own.
  • Avoid lifting heavy objects or weight, or pull anything heavy as it will put pressure on your rotator cuff and it may tear again.
  • Do not remove the sling till your doctor asks you to do so.

It is very necessary that you prevent yourself from any sort of rotator cuff surgery complications to ease and speed up the process of recovery. The best way is to follow your surgeon's instructions properly, so as to prevent microbial infection and to get back to your normal routine.