Chief Complaint/Injury

Arthroscopic Rotator Cuff Repair:

Nancy sustained a traumatic injury to her rotator cuff and after being turned down by an orthopaedic surgeon who dismissed the idea of surgery, Nancy came in for an evaluation with Dr. Rudzki at W.O.S.M. In February of 2016, she had “blown out her shoulder” and sustained a rotator cuff tear. She had suffered with disabling shoulder pain and was worried about the prospects of recovering well enough from the injury to return to her favorite sport of sailing.


Nancy’s workup demonstrated a tear of the subscapularis (rotator cuff tendon in the front) as well as the supraspinatus and anterior infraspinatus (rotator cuff tendons on the top). Her previous surgeon thought the tear was too big to be reparable and she then came to us for an additional opinion. Some tears are too big, too retracted, and have too much atrophy to warrant surgical intervention. However, given Nancy’s young age of 55 and her desired high level of activity and our experience with these specific types of tears, we felt the risk-benefit analysis was in favor of arthroscopic surgical repair.

As with each patient, we carefully considered the potential risks and benefits of surgery and determined that an arthroscopic rotator cuff repair would offer the best chance of recovery.

Surgery for Rotator Cuff Repair

Her surgery took place in March of 2016. The arthroscopy included a rotator cuff repair, biceps tenodesis, sub-acromial decompression, and extensive debridement. Her surgery was followed with a course of post-operative physical therapy and her progress was closely monitored along the way.

Surgery, arthroscopy, rotator cuff repair, pain relief, tendon healing, shoulder, Rudzki

Example of arthroscopic rotator cuff repair in progress

Arthroscopic rotator cuff repair, shoulder, surgery, Rudzki

Example of completed arthroscopic rotator cuff repair


Setting Sail After Rotator Cuff Repair- Rudzki

Photo courtesy of USN Captain (Ret) Robert Moon

Now (1 year later) Nancy is continuing to regain strength and range of motion through a home exercise program, and she is back to sailing on the open water.