Rotator cuff tears is very common in the Indian population. In younger patients this occurs after significant injury around the shoulder region and is commonly missed as there are no x-ray changes in this injury. It can be picked up only when one entertains a high degree of suspicion for this potentially debilitating injury. In older people the cuff ruptures due to 'intrinsic degeneration' which could be due to untreated impingement.
It has now been well established that Rotator Cuff tears need surgical intervention at the earliest opportunity to restore shoulder function. If left untreated, pain and loss of function progresses and the cuff becomes irreparable after some time. Some of these patients sadly go on to develop rotator cuff arthropathy which is a very painful condition and denotes end stage disease of the natural joint.
Rotator cuff tears can now be repaired with mini-open techniques which give good results if done early and is combined with an efficient rehab programme. Even if the cuff is irrepairable due to the delay in seeking treatment, an arthroscopic subacromial decompression and cuff debridement can be performed which will help immensely in pain relief and eliminate that component of weakness which is due to pain inhibition.
Rotator cuff repairs that can be done by the mini-open method