If you are a smoker, you will be asked to stop as it delays or prevents healing and increases risk of getting a chest or wound infection. The procedure will be done under general anaesthetic and you will been given instruction as to when you should stop eating prior to the surgery. We will make sure that you feel completely at ease, and give you every opportunity to ask as many questions as you would like to your surgeon.
The aim of the operation is to repair the torn tendon. Most repairs are performed via key-hole surgery, however some may be performed as an open procedure.
The operation will involve removing degenerative tissue and bringing the tendon back to its original insertion on the head of the humerus (the ball part of the socket). The tendon is held in place with anchors. Anchors are used to hold the tendon in place while it heals – these are small hard pellets (usually plastic) with tails of strong suture material that are fired into the bone in the humeral head. The suture tails are passed through the tendon and then tied down.
The operation may also involve removing some bone from the underside of the bony arch (acromion) which is positioned just above the rotator cuff tendons known as an acromioplasty. This prevents the bony arch from rubbing on the tendons and repair when the shoulder is moving. Your surgeon may combine the procedure with removal of the biceps tendon from the shoulder or removal of the joint between the collar bone and shoulder-blade (the acromioclavicular joint).
Once your surgery has finished, you will be taken back to your room to rest. Once the consultant or nurse has discharged you, you will be free to go home and rest. Your Consultant will give you further instructions before you leave regarding your aftercare.