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One Year After a Rotator Cuff Surgery

How should my shoulder feel one year after rotator cuff surgery?

Patient education is one of the most important ingredients in a successful surgery. It is important that patients understand what to expect immediately after an operation and also years later.

Arthroscopic Rotator cuff repair is a great operation that can decrease pain and improve shoulder function. However, it is important to realize that it may not make your shoulder feel 100% normal again. Research studies have shown that one year after surgery patients will have shoulder function which is about 80% of normal (see the attached graph from a publication in JBJS). I believe that most patients do a little better than that and approach 90% of normal. Of course there are some who do better and approach 100% and some who do less well.

Don’t be alarmed if you have had a rotator cuff repair in the past and you still experience some occasional discomfort or shoulder tightness. The research shows that is normal! The shoulder should feel a whole lot better than it did before surgery but maybe not good enough to pitch professionally.

Brad Carofino, MD Dr. Brad Carofino is a board-certified (American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery), fellowship-trained orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in shoulder & upper extremity surgery. Dr. Carofino is an expert in shoulder replacement surgery, minimally invasive arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, and complex reconstructive procedures of the upper extremity.

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I enjoy sharing this story because it is a testament to patient's who are seeking a solution to shoulder arthritis who want to remain highly active. I am grateful for patients like Fred who give me the opportunity to improve their overall quality of life!