Accessibility Tools

Massive Retracted Rotator Cuff Tear


Massive Retracted Rotator Cuff Tear Specialist

Baseball and tennis players, carpenters, painters and other performing excessive overhead activities may sometimes endure a massive, retracted rotator cuff tear where 2 or more tendons are torn and retracted. Rotator cuff tear specialist, Dr. Kelechi Okoroha provides diagnosis and individualized non-surgical and surgical management for massive retracted rotator cuff tears in Minneapolis. Contact Dr. Okoroha’s team for an appointment today!

What is the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff consists of 4 muscles which stabilize the shoulder joint and enable certain arm movements. The muscles of the rotator cuff include:

  • Supraspinatus
  • Infraspinatus
  • Teres minor
  • Subscapularis

Tendons of the rotator cuff muscles are attached to the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) securing it within the glenoid cavity of the shoulder blade to form the main shoulder joint.

What are Massive Rotator Cuff Tears?

A tear in the rotator cuff can cause pain and disability. It can occur from degeneration of the rotator cuff due to overuse or from a sudden injury. Massive rotator cuff tears involve tears in two complete tendons of the rotator cuff. A tear of more than 5 cm is described as massive. A massive tear may be associated with degeneration and retraction of the tendon and can be difficult to repair if treatment is delayed.

Causes of Rotator Cuff Tears

The common causes for a tear in the rotator cuff include:

  • A blow or injury to your shoulder
  • Sudden excessive loading of the joint such as while lifting an object
  • Sports such as baseball and tennis which can lead to overuse
  • Excessive overhead activities such as carpenters and painters
  • Bone spurs on the acromion
  • Tendon degeneration due to aging

When a rotator cuff tear is suspected, it is important to schedule an orthopedic consultation for proper examination and care. Dr. Kelechi Okoroha is a shoulder specialist who provides detailed examination and care for patients with massive retracted rotator cuff tears in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Minnesota and beyond.

Symptoms of Massive Rotator Cuff Tears

A massive tear is characterized by pain, increased weakness and disability. The pain may be worse at night or increase with activity and when lying on the affected side but can also occur at rest.

Complications of Massive, Retracted Rotator Cuff Tears

  • Massive rotator cuff tears may be associated with:
  • Fatty infiltration of muscle (accumulation of fats) causing loss of elasticity
  • Humeral head subluxation (partial dislocation)
  • Impingement of tissues
  • Formation of bone spurs
  • Osteoarthritis

Diagnosis of Massive, Retracted Rotator Cuff Tears

Dr. Okoroha will review your medical history and perform a physical examination to assess pain, movement, and strength. An MRI scan may be ordered to visualize the rotator cuff injury. X-rays may be performed to look at associated bone injuries or defects.

Treatment of Massive, Retracted Rotator Cuff Tears

After careful review of your history and examination, Dr. Okoroha will provide an individualized treatment plan to help you return to your normal function.

Surgery is necessary to treat most massive, retracted rotator cuff tears. Without treatment, shoulder movement becomes abnormal and structures within the shoulder can undergo further damage. Non-surgical treatment may be recommended for elderly patients with limited functional goals.

Surgical goals can often be achieved by arthroscopic surgery. The procedure is performed with the help of a pencil-sized instrument called an arthroscope that contains a miniature camera which relays images to a monitor. The procedure for massive tears usually involves:

  • Extensive debridement of tissue fragments at the detached edge of the rotator cuff.
  • Mobilization to bring the detached muscle to its original attachment on the humerus.
  • Reconstruction of the tendons with a suitable graft may be necessary.
  • Attachment of the tendon to bone with the help of suture anchors.

If you have experienced a massive, retracted rotator cuff tear, please contact Dr. Kelechi Okoroha, orthopedic shoulder specialist treating patients in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Minnesota and beyond.