Brad Carofino, MD
Shoulder and Hand Surgeon located in Virginia Beach, VA & Chesapeake, VA
Your shoulder is designed to move in a number of ways, and the rotator cuff muscles are essential for most of these movements. If you experience pain when scratching your back, throwing a ball, or pulling on a shirt, you may have a rotator cuff tear. Dr. Brad Carofino is a fellowship-trained surgeon specializing in rotator cuff repair. He provides diagnostic testing and treatment for rotator cuff injuries at his offices in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, Virginia. For more information about rotator cuff treatment options, schedule an appointment online or by phone.
Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A
What is a rotator cuff?
Your rotator cuff is a group of tendons and muscles that surround your shoulder joint and attach to the ball of the shoulder. The rotator cuff muscles enable you to rotate and lift your arm. They also help to keep your shoulder in the socket.
A fluid sac known as the bursa sits on top of the rotator cuff. This sac lubricates the rotator cuff tendons to help them glide easily when you move.
What causes a rotator cuff tear?
Rotator cuff tears are a common cause of shoulder pain. A rotator cuff tear occurs when the muscles or tendons in your rotator cuff develop a hole from injury or overuse. Most tears result from the wear and tear of the natural aging process. But some rotator cuff tears can be the result of injury and are known as traumatic rotator cuff tears.
What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?
You may find it difficult to perform ordinary tasks like putting on a shirt or combing your hair due to pain and limited movement. Other symptoms of a rotator cuff tear include:
- Dull shoulder aches
- Arm weakness
- Limited range of motion
- Sleep disturbances
If your pain becomes moderate to severe and lasts longer than a few weeks, seek an accurate diagnosis from Dr. Carofino to prevent further damage.
How is a rotator cuff tear diagnosed?
First, Dr. Carofino discusses your symptoms and performs a physical examination. He evaluates your range of motion and checks your rotator cuff strength.
If he suspects a rotator cuff tear, Dr. Carofino may request an MRI to get a closer look at your rotator cuff. He may order or perform other tests to get a look at your bones and rule out other causes of your pain. These tests may include:
What treatments are available for a rotator cuff tear?
Dr. Carofino creates a customized treatment plan for your rotator cuff tear. Initially, he may recommend nonsurgical treatments to decrease your pain and increase your range of motion. These treatments may include:
- Steroid injections
- Physical therapy
- Anti-inflammatory medications
If these treatments don't alleviate pain or improve your mobility, Dr. Carofino may recommend surgery. He can repair most rotator cuff tears by stitching the torn tissue back together. He performs this using minimally invasive arthroscopic rotator cuff repair techniques. Dr. Carofino places small incisions on your shoulder and uses a camera and precise instruments to guide him in the repair.
In some instances, a rotator cuff tear is too large for repair. Luckily, this is a rare event, and in these situations, Dr. Carofino offers superior capsular reconstruction and reverse shoulder replacements.
The superior capsular reconstruction is an arthroscopic minimally invasive surgery where Dr. Carofino covers a large rotator cuff tear with a patch. Reverse shoulder replacement is generally reserved for older patients or individuals who have a rotator cuff tear and shoulder arthritis.
Book an appointment online or by calling Dr. Carofino’s office directly.
*Anatomical look at the shoulder and rotator cuff
*Rotator Cuff Arthropathy
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