Potential complications after a rotator cuff surgery

A rotator cuff is the name used to describe a muscle group surrounding the shoulder. Since the location as well as the actions they have to perform, the rotator cuff is susceptible to wear and tear as well as various injuries.

Even though damage on the rotator cuff can be managed using conservative measures, surgical repair might also be an option. Just remember that the complications after rotator cuff surgery can occur. These potential complications usually include damage to the nerves and muscles, infection, chronic pain, diminished mobility of the shoulder and re-tearing of the rotator cuff.

Muscle and nerve damage

Rotator cuff surgery

Damage on the muscles, nerves, sutures as well as the coarseness of the bony exteriors right after the rotator cuff surgery together with the pain can eventually lead to reduced range of movement of the affected shoulder right after the individual had rotator cuff surgery.

The shoulder is comprised of various tendons, muscles, nerves and bones. The axillary nerve, deltoid muscle as well as the ligaments and bones of the coracoacromial arch are at risk for injury during rotator cuff surgery. A small percentage of individuals who undergo rotator cuff surgery might end up with damage to the axillary nerve while some might end up with a detached deltoid muscle.

Infection

Always bear in mind that the concern about surgical site infection is not just limited to rotator cuff surgery. It is a known fact that infections occur in millions of surgeries performed annually.

When it comes to orthopedic operations including rotator cuff surgery, the incidence of infection is rare. The indications of infection include warmth, swelling, redness and even pain or drainage around the incision site as well as fever. In most cases, antibiotics are given during surgery which has proven to be highly effective in reducing the risk for infection. If you want to learn more about infection and how to prevent one from developing, click here.

Reduced range of motion

Damage on the muscles, nerves, sutures as well as the coarseness of the bony exteriors right after the rotator cuff surgery together with the pain can eventually lead to reduced range of movement of the affected shoulder right after the individual had rotator cuff surgery.

If the procedure was a success without any complications, some find it difficult to perform exercises prescribed by the doctor since they can cause a lot of pain. Nevertheless, starting shoulder rehabilitation as soon as possible has reduced the stiffness of the rotator cuff after surgery.

Re-tearing of the rotator cuff tendon

The rotator cuff tendon becomes torn once again in some cases of rotator cuff surgeries. If the original tear occurred only after minor trauma, the tendon is at higher risk for re-tearing after surgery. A 3-6 month period of protecting the repaired tendon from falls and overuse is advised in order to allow enough time for healing.

It is best to consult a doctor regarding the possible complications after a rotator cuff surgery. Even though these complications can be prevented, some can occur due to potential risk factors involved.

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