Rotator Cuff Surgery

What is rotator cuff surgery?

Rotator cuff surgeryRotator cuff surgery is a type of surgery used to repair a torn rotator cuff and general rotator cuff damage.

The rotator cuff is formed from four muscles and tendons that attach your arm to the top of your shoulder blade (see figure 1). It allows you to lift the arm and reach up and stabilizes the shoulder joint, for normal shoulder movements.

Usually, the rotator cuff is damaged due to injury, repetitive movements or overuse of the shoulder. It can also appear slowly over time in patients that are older due to the inflammation of the bursa or the tendons in the shoulder.

If you are experiencing recurrent pain, limited ability to move the arm and muscle weakness in the shoulder area, you might be having issues with the rotator cuff. A successful rotator cuff surgery will relieve your pain and allow you to use your shoulder more easily.

Are there any alternatives to surgery?

If the tear or impingement is quite small, then the symptoms can be managed with physiotherapy or some anti-inflammatory painkillers. Steroid injections can also be recommended to manage the pain.

However, if you have a large tear, it is likely that surgery is your only option to get back some strength in your shoulder.

What will happen during my rotator cuff surgery consultation?

When you meet with your consultant surgeon they'll ensure that you have the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your rotator cuff surgery. They'll discuss with you what'll happen before, during and after the procedure and any pain you might have. Take this time with your consultant surgeon to ensure your mind is put at rest.

What does the rotator cuff surgery involve?

Impingement is usually treated by arthroscopy (‘keyhole’ surgery). If you have a large tear, you may need a larger cut. Rotator cuff surgery is usually performed under a general anaesthetic. However, a variety of anaesthetic techniques are possible. The operation usually takes between three-quarters of an hour and an hour. Your surgeon will use instruments to remove any thickened tissue, release any tight tissue and to shave off some bone. If you have a large tear, your surgeon will repair the rotator cuff using special stitches that anchor into the bone.

What complications can happen?

Any surgical intervention has certain risks of complications such as pain, extensive bleeding, infection in the surgical wound or unsightly scarring.  A rotator cuff surgery can have the following complications:

  • Bleeding into the shoulder
  • Restricted shoulder movement
  • Infection in the shoulder
  • Blood clot
  • Severe pain, stiffness and loss of use of the arm and hand (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) 
  • Nerve injury 

What is the recovery time?

The recovery period depends on the type of anaesthetic you have been given, but in some cases it is possible to go home on the same day.

The stitches or clips are removed after one or two weeks by the consultant. Once you are at home, it is important to follow the doctor’s advice on how to keep the surgical wound dry and clean. If you are experiencing any pain, your consultant will prescribe any pain relief medication. It can take up to a year to get back enough strength in your shoulder to return to normal activities. Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, you should ask a member of the healthcare team or your GP for advice. You are unlikely to get back the same strength that you had before and often symptoms come back with time.

Paying for your operation

Rotator cuff surgery costs are covered by most medical insurance policies, but please check with your insurer first. If you are paying for your own treatment the cost of the operation will be explained and confirmed in writing when you book the operation. Ask the hospital for a quote beforehand, and ensure that this includes the surgeon’s fee, the anaesthetist’s fee and the hospital charge for your procedure. This information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional will give you.

*Revised and updated November 2016

Pricing

Keyhole rotator cuff (shoulder) repair

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £6,272 Included £6,272
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £6,472
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £6,272
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £6,472

Shoulder repair surgery (rotator cuff repair)

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £4,389 Included £4,389
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £4,589
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £4,389
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £4,589

Shoulder repair surgery (rotator cuff repair)

Patient pathway Initial consultation Diagnostic investigations Main treatment Post discharge care Total
Hospital fees N/A Included £5,026 Included £5,026
Consultants fees £200 N/A Included Included £200
Total £5,226
Initial consultation
Hospital fees N/A
Consultants fees £200
Diagnostic investigations
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees N/A
Main treatment
Hospital fees £5,026
Consultants fees Included
Post discharge care
Hospital fees Included
Consultants fees Included
Total £5,226

Terms & Conditions

Treatment prices displayed are a guide for initial consultation, and a guide price for our fixed price packages which include pre-assessment, procedure and aftercare. Your Consultant will be able to discuss costs in greater detail at your consultation, after which a quote of your fixed price package will be provided [which is subject to results of any pre-assessment tests]. Prices can be subject to change.

For more information please refer to our terms and conditions (large print version).

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