Diagnosing the Severity of Rotator Cuff Tears
Are there degrees of rotator cuff tears? If so, do they all require surgery for repair?
Dr. Nikhil N. Verma:
Rotator cuff tears come in many sizes both with regard to length and width. An Orthopaedic physician will typically evaluate several conditions when making a diagnosis. The first aspect to consider is to whether it is a complete tear or partial tear. Second, determining the length of the tear is important. Finally, the chronicity of the tear (the duration of the injury) and degree of tendon retraction.
Not all tears require surgical management and in most cases, an initial trial of conservative management is indicated. This decision is best made in consultation with your surgeon, and is based on factors such as age, activity level, work requirements, tear size, and degree of symptoms.
This information is not intended as a substitute for the professional advice of your physician, nor to be a complete description of every aspect of a condition, nor a complete list of possible side effects of any medication. Decisions concerning your treatment should be based on your own health care provider's evaluation of your personal health history and current condition. Consult your physician before following any of the suggestions on this Web site. All articles on this Web site represent the personal opinions of the individual authors and should not be construed as official policy of Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.