About the author:

Howard J. Luks, MD

Howard J. Luks, MD

A Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon in Hawthorne, NY. Dr. Howard Luks specializes in the treatment of the shoulder, knee, elbow, and ankle. He has a very "social" patient centric approach and believes that the more you understand about your issue, the more informed your decisions will be. Ultimately your treatments and his recommendations will be based on proper communications, proper understanding, and shared decision-making principles – all geared to improve your quality of life.

7 comments on “Massive Rotator Cuff Tears : Treatment Options For a Complex Problem

  • I’ve read thru all ur info, altho i only have a small tear in my rotator cuff and am opting for the PRP injection. I would like to thank you so much for the time and effort you’ve dedicated to educate the millions of us who suffer from pain caused by tendon problems. Your writings were so informative and my understanding is much more clear. Thank you again. ☺

  • I recently had this surgery I was virtually pain free following the procedure and I am at day 20 following surgery. I will come back to this site in one more week as I start doing minimal exercises with my shoulder sling/brace temporarily removed.

  • I also had a very positive experience with this type of surgery following a massive left shoulder rotator cuff tear. In my case (2) tendons were beyond repair and a third was torn. If I understood the surgeon correctly a bicep tendon also needed reattachment to the bone. I had virtually minimal pain after damaging my shoulder and minimal pain after surgery.

    It is probable that one reason I had limited pain was my use of ice on my shoulder immediately following surgery. I invested in a Don Joy ice machine used for therapy following surgery to keep the inflamtion down. Online I found a site that sold it for $185.00 I have heard from other knee, shoulder, and elbow patients that a number of health insurance companies will provide it for their patients.

    For (9) weeks my arm was in a sling with the only times the sling was removed was to shower or after a number of weeks letting my arm hang down while I bent over at the waist. On my (10th) week I began physical therapy with easy stretching exercises avoiding any pain. Finally about a month after that I started doing strength exercises using different colored elastic bands. My stretching has become more aggressive once I started the strength training.

    It is now 4 and 1/2 months following surgery I am still in physical therapy. Under doctor orders I can carry very light items in my left arm and I am still doing strength exercises and stretching at home aa well as in physical therapy. My first month after removing the sling and brace the most I could carry was a 8 ounce cup of coffee.

    Walking is my main workout these days and I walk an average of 160 miles per month. My pain level was always fairly low and I was actually was able to walk daily following surgery.

    My physical therapist is confident I will gain back about 80% of my strength in my left shoulder I really don’t know if in the future I will ever be able to resume lifting weights again or even play golf which prior to my surgery were almost daily activities for me. I will deal with whatever limitations arise following my surgery and move on to different activities that don’t negatively affect my shoulder.

    again

    • I too had a massive tear in my right shoulder. The repair required 7 anchors in total. My surgeon told me i completely tore 3 out of the 4 tendons. Today i’m at 1 yr post surgery . It has been a long up hill climb. I am 61 yrs old and have worked out all my life. I am just now hitting the gym 2 times per week now and lifting light weights with controlled movements at 25 reps per. Hang tough man, stretch and have patience it will eventually get better !

  • I had a massive rotator cuff tear that failed. The dr put 10 anchors in and sent me to therapy 5 days after surgery. My surgery was in May and I still can’t raise my arm up over my head. I have pain every time I use my arm and is pulling on muscles in my neck. Looking to get some relief. I’m still doing therapy exercises at home.

    • Hi Debra…
      Sometimes these massive tears do fail. PT for stretching is usually well-tolerated early after surgery. Strengthening exercises are not. At this point, you may want to chat with a shoulder doc about your options. Shoulder specialists have other procedures that they might be able to offer you based on the location of the tear. We can transfer some muscles to make up for certain tears, and in some shoulders, we consider a procedure called a superior capsule reconstruction. The decision making about which procedure to do is very complex, so it will help if you can find someone who specializes in the shoulder.

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