Rotator Cuff Surgery


 My rotator cuff surgery was done July 2008, due to several complete and partial muscle tears.  The supraspinatus was the one that was surgically repaired. There was also some scraping of bone spurs (debridement). The tear was repaired both with arthroscopic surgery and a small incision surgery.  

The following ideas are worth knowing prior to having any shoulder surgery.  Surgeons do surgery; therapy and proper preparation are up to the patient and PT.  I find that it is imperative to have a PT that works in this body area both pre and post surgery.  

Pre-Surgery:  Pulley to help strengthen arm—need a PT’s advice on what exercises to do. (pulley hangs over door & is usually provided in the orthopedic office).  

Physical Therapy: Without the advice of my Physical therapist, I would not have known when to move from passive to active motion, how to use the pulley at each improvement or when to start thera-bands.   

Post surgery PT should be required!    Would not have had the constant, consistant improvement without my PT.  

WATER THERAPY: I started in a hot tub at day 18 and slowly let my arm rise in the water. (no active arm movement at this time).  I continued this daily and then started more movement in the hot tub.  At 6 weeks, out of sling, I went to a therapy pool.  At 9 weeks I swam using only the breaststroke carefully and did  arm motions suggested by PT for hydrotherapy.  

PRODUCTS & INFORMATION: Patient should be advised of the following Pre-Surgery & again post–surgery.  

Rt. Arm surgery—need a recliner that can be worked with left arm or make some furniture adjustments, since much time is spent in recliner post surgery.  There seem to be no left arm lift recliners, other than couch with operation facilitated by an electrical button or side pull.  If surgery is on Left shoulder than it is easier to find a recliner that operates with the right arm.  

If Dominant arm surgery—start practicing eating, combing hair, brushing teeth, pulling up pants etc. before your surgery.  

Button down shirts, blouse or dresses should be purchased prior to surgery, as nothing can be pulled overhead with your arm in a  fixed type sling.  

Possibly purchase an extra sling for washing one—available at a Medical Supply Stores.  

Shampoo, Cream Rinse, etc. should be placed in bottles with plunger tops, so that it can be done one-handed.  ( Bottles like Soft-Soap—counter size can be emptied and replace with shampoo and cream rinse).   

A shower seat is nice to have, if you have a hand held shower attachment.  

A pillow from Scandia Down (on Fillmore in Denver) is a lifesaver. Scandia Down pillows can be ordered  or by phone.  We had to order a 2nd one after my accident in MI.  It is square and placed behind the back and cushions around the back and shoulder.   FABULOUS, but about $120   Well worth the money!  


BEST home-made Ice Pack.  Take kitchen towel and place in 1 gallon Ziploc Bag.  Mix ½ Isopropyl Alcohol w/ the other half water—about ¾ cup ea..  After mixing,  Pour into Ziploc Bag , saturating the towel.  Zip bag, taking out air and place with Zipped end into another gallons Ziploc.  Freeze. Ice pack is flexible and can be wrapped in another kitchen towel and placed over surgery area.  The cold will last about 20-30 minutes and then can be refrozen—also great for children when they have injuries.  

Recommended Websites about Rotator Cuff surgery:
 Mayo Clinic       Cleveland Clinic