What is Mini Open Rotator Cuff Repair?
The rotator cuff of the shoulder is under constant stress and strain and is therefore vulnerable to injury. As a result of injury, the tendons can tear and require repair. The surgical procedure used to repair the torn tendons within the rotator cuff is called a mini open rotator cuff repair.
How is the Procedure Performed?
A mini open rotator cuff repair procedure is performed arthroscopically. The shoulder to be operated upon is cleaned with antiseptic solution and covered in sterile drapes. General anesthetic is administered to the patient and a small incision is made on the shoulder joint through which a specialist instrument called the arthroscope is inserted. The arthroscope allows direct visualization of the shoulder joint by the operating surgeon.
The first step in the procedure is to get rid of any debris that may be floating around within the joint. Removal of debris is called debridement and can be performed using the arthroscope. Once the area has been cleared, further inspection of the site is performed to ensure that the surfaces within the joint are clean.
The next step is to inspect the acromion process of the scapular bone. Any irregularities or bone spurs that may be present are removed using a specialized tool. This process is called subacromial decompression and helps relieve any pressure that the acromion process may be placing on the supraspinatus tendon.
Once the pressure has been believed, further inspection is conducted of the remainder of the rotator cuff. If no additional injuries or damage is discovered, the procedure concludes here and the instruments are removed. However, if there is additional damage detected, the surgeon may need to make a larger incision to obtain access to other parts of the shoulder joint. This can involve tendon repair and repair of the head of the humerus.
Through the larger incision, a tiny drill is inserted to make holes in the bones of the shoulder joint. Through these holes are inserted anchors which help hold stitches in place. Any damaged tendons are stitched together and once repaired are attached to the anchors inserted in the bone earlier. These anchors help re-attach torn tendons to the humerus bone. Once the tendons have all been repaired, the procedure is complete and the instruments are removed. The skin over the joint is sutured close and a sterile dressing is applied.
After the Procedure
After the procedure, the arm is held in a sling in order to give rest to the shoulder joint. Once a degree of healing has commenced, physical therapy will be offered to the patient in order to strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint and improve movement. Eventually, the tendons that were anchored to the bone will be attached to the humerus and will regain their normal activity.
While the above procedure may sound complicated, it in fact has a number of different benefits. It helps the patient regain their normal anatomy of the shoulder joint and over time allows for complete restoration of movement. This enables a patient to get back to their normal life as before.
The risks are rare and are associated with general anesthesia. Allergic reactions are uncommon. Infection at the site of surgery can be easily treated with antibiotics if occurs. Mild bruising at the site is common as is a small amount of swelling. They settle down within a few days.