William Schell, MD
Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon & Sports Medicine/Arthroscopy located in Upper West Side, Columbus Circle, New York, NY
A rotator cuff tear in your shoulder can make day-to-day tasks unbearable. Fortunately, experienced board-certified orthopedic surgeon Dr. William Schell, MD, repairs torn rotator cuffs and other sports related injuries to restore function in your shoulder and improve quality of life. Call his New York City office to schedule an appointment, or book online today.
Rotator Cuff Tear Q & A
What is a rotator cuff tear?
Your rotator cuff is a group of tendons surrounding your shoulder joint that keep the bone in your upper arm (your humerus) firmly in place. A torn rotator cuff is a common injury, affecting about two million people (or more) in the United States annually. This type of injury weakens your shoulder, and can cause:
- Shoulder pain (a dull, deep ache)
- Difficulty sleeping on your side
- Reduced range of motion
- Arm weakness
- Crackling sensations during movement
Rotator cuff tears may result from playing sports, overuse injuries, heavy lifting, motor vehicle accidents, or falls. Surgery may be required to repair rotator cuff tears, restore shoulder function, and improve quality of life.
Dr. Schell diagnoses a rotator cuff tear after a thorough physical examination, X-rays, and imaging studies (such as MRIs).
What is a conservative treatment for rotator cuff tears?
Dr. Schell always recommends you undergo the least invasive treatment first, so he may suggest you initially try:
- A shoulder sling
- Medications to alleviate pain and inflammation
- Icing the affected area
- Physical therapy
These conservative treatment options may help heal your injury without the need for surgery, especially if your tear is small. Dr. Schell also may recommend steroid injections for your shoulder joint to further alleviate pain.
How are rotator cuff tears surgically repaired?
If your shoulder injury is severe or not improving with conservative treatment, Dr. Schell may recommend surgical repair. During rotator cuff surgery, you’re placed under general anesthesia.
Dr. Schell makes an incision to repair and reattach the tendon to the bone during open surgery or arthroscopic surgery. He’ll discuss which type of surgical repair best matches your needs. Arthroscopic surgery uses smaller incisions than open surgery but may take the same length of time to heal from.
After surgery, you’ll complete rehabilitation exercises to:
- Enhance the healing process
- Strengthen your shoulder joint
- Increase range of motion
Over time, normal shoulder function is often restored so you can resume playing sports, working out, and completing the regular day-to-day tasks you once enjoyed. When you’re tired of shoulder pain hindering your quality of life, call Dr. Schell’s office or book an appointment online.