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The rotator cuff is a covering formed by muscles and tendons that wrap the joint of the shoulder, thus enabling its motion in a decisive way. It is made up of five muscles and their tendons attached along a narrow bone structure.

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MR of a rotator cuff tear

Arthroscopic view of the shoulder

Due to this particular anatomic feature this bone structure is often subjected to inflammation (tendinitis), degeneration or tear of one of this tendons.

If this occurs the most effective option is surgery. Arthroscopical surgical techniques (minimally invasive surgery under video control) allow the surgeon to widen the underlying bone structure by resecting it using micro-reamers (acromioplasty), to remove the inflammated synovial bursa (bursectomy) or to repair the torn tendon using bioabsorbable screws attached to keblar sutures.

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MR rotator cuff repair

Arthroscopic view of suture anchors

Despite the fact that we perform the greater part of the procedures under local-regional anaesthesia, surgical techniques concerning the shoulder do normally demand general anaesthesia. Regional anaesthesia is much less effective due to the proximity of the exit points of the nerve trunks to the cervical spine.

The use of the arthroscopic technique offers numerous advantages compared with open surgery. Arthroscopy is a less invasive surgical technique, therefore the postoperative care is less painful, function can be restored faster and the cosmetic result is better.

Thanks to the arthroscopic technique, the surgeon can confirm that none of the tendons are damaged. Should this be the case, rehabilitation could start immediately. However, if one of the tendons is ruptured, the patient will have to use a sling postoperatively during three or four weeks.


Operating room view