Evolution of Technology

Arthroscopic Repair

Repairing rotator cuff tears utilizes a type of suture made of threaded materials as well as anchors. Advances have led to the development of a suture material made of multi-stranded, long chain ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene core with a braided jacket of polyester. The quantity and pattern in which these sutures are used vary depending on surgeon preference and the characteristic/size of the tear. Once these sutures are passed through the tendon, the tendon must then be re-attached to its original location on the bone. This is done with suture anchors and can be made of metal or a biodegradable material.

Evolution of Procedure

Rotator Cuff Repair

Historically, repair of the rotator cuff was done through a large open incision in the shoulder to visualize the torn tendon, which was then repaired and re-attached to the bone. Overtime, advances in surgical technique allowed surgeons to repair the tendon through a much smaller incision, called the mini-open repair. Further advances have led to the ability to repair the rotator cuff arthroscopically with a small camera and specialized instruments placed into the shoulder through 3 or 4 small incisions. Today, rotator cuff repairs are performed either through the mini-open approach or most commonly, arthroscopically. The surgeon first removes any bones spurs and inflamed tissue, which creates space for the repaired rotator cuff tendon. Then, anchors with suture are used to reattach it back to the bone.