Does My Rotator Cuff Require Surgery?

Does My Rotator Cuff Require Surgery?

Ball-and-socket joints like the shoulder allow for a wide range of motion. Unfortunately, they can also be more susceptible to injury. The good news is several treatment options are available, including surgery for particularly persistent cases.

At our office in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our highly skilled staff use proven innovative treatment methods and preventive protocols to help people of all ages and activity levels. Whether the issue is a rotator cuff injury or another orthopedic issue, we can help decrease pain, improve mobility, and enhance overall quality of life.

Rotator cuff injury

Three bones — the humerus (upper arm), scapula (shoulder blade), and clavicle (collarbone) create the shoulder. The rotator cuff, a collection of muscles and tendons, stabilizes the joint and keeps the "ball" of the arm in the "socket."

Injuries or tears typically happen in one of two ways. A sudden action like falling on an outstretched arm or awkwardly lifting something too heavy can result in an acute tear. Degenerative tears, on the other hand, happen over a long period and can be due to repetitive motions or as a side effect of aging.


Pain is one of the primary symptoms of a rotator cuff tear. If the injury is sudden, the pain can be intense and accompanied by weakness in the upper arm. A degenerative tear may begin with mild discomfort when performing specific motions and progress over time to occur even at rest. Weakness may occur with this type of injury as well. Sometimes a crackling sensation may be noticeable when making certain movements.


A diagnosis of a rotator cuff injury is typically determined by a thorough physical exam, and in some cases, imaging tests. The severity of the tear helps determine the course of treatment.

When possible, non-surgical treatment choices are the first course of action. Depending on the situation, this may include rest, a shoulder sling, or medication. Other possibilities are physical therapy, joint injections using steroids or anesthetics, and therapies using platelet-rich plasma (PRP) or stem cells. In some cases, surgery is necessary.

Surgical situations

If pain remains an ongoing issue, surgery may become needed. It should also be considered for people who use their arms in overhead work or are involved in sports. If the tear is large or was the result of a sudden recent injury, surgery may also be recommended.

There are several surgical options available ranging from traditional, arthroscopic, and robotic to a new technique that creates more space for the tendons then uses suture anchors to connect them to the shoulder bone.

If you've experienced a sudden injury or notice shoulder pain increasing over time, getting a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is important for maintaining good shoulder health. Call our office today at 405-233-3602 for an appointment to learn how we can help.

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