Rotator Cuff Tear Repairs

Golfers who have had shoulder surgery face a new set of challenges when they return to the course. The following surgical procedures are common among golfers:

Rotator cuff tears occur when one of the tendons of the four rotator cuff muscles is torn.

The surgical procedure to fix this tear is called a rotator cuff repair. Surgical anchors and sutures are utilized to repair one or more of the muscles that surround the shoulder. Anchors are also used to secure the muscle tendon to the arm bone to recreate the muscular forces needed to support, stabilize and move the arm. Muscles are generally shortened during this procedure, which may lead to stiffness and decreased range of motion. Following this surgery, directed physical therapy is important to regain motion and strength and golfers should avoid unsupervised exercises that cause pain.

Shoulder Stabilization Surgery

This procedure is typically performed after shoulder dislocations or in individuals with recurrent shoulder instability. When this surgery is performed, the injured structures in the shoulder joint are repaired, reattached or tightened with sutures. After this operation, once again, directed physical therapy is important to regain motion and strength and unsupervised shoulder stretching exercises should be avoided.

Total Shoulder Replacement

This procedure is typically performed when people have severe arthritis and unrelenting pain. The typical total shoulder replacement involves replacing the arthritic joint surfaces with a highly polished metal ball attached to a stem in the upper humerus articulating with a plastic socket that replaces the socket or glenoid. This type of surgery is generally very successful in relieving pain and increasing range of motion.

After this procedure and supervised rehabilitation, excessive external rotation of the shoulder, which may occur at the top of the back swing, should be avoided.