Rotator cuff tears of the shoulder are common and increase with age. This group of muscles/tendons are important for shoulder stability and movement. Damage can manifest as pain and/or unacceptable impaired function. Degenerative or age-related rotator cuff tears are the most common finding however tears can also be due to acute injury/trauma. Depending on age and extent of your injury, surgical repair may be able to restore function and alleviate symptoms.


Partial tears and sub-acute injuries generally have the best prognosis. However, all tears should be evaluated to assess their suitability for surgical repair. Patients wishing to maintain an active lifestyle and pursue their usual activities may elect to have an operation to address their injury.


Dr Bartlett will take a detailed history and perform a thorough examination of your shoulder to determine the underlying pathology and in most cases refer you for imaging to help define the nature and extent of the injury. In cases where the injury is amenable to surgical repair patients will be offered surgery after consultation regarding your risk/benefit profile.

Surgical Detail

Rotator Cuff repair surgery is performed through small incisions around the shoulder depending on the pathology that needs to be treated. Post-operatively you will placed into a sling to help protect the repair.


Patients typically spend one night in hospital to help monitor and manage any pain requirements. Dr Bartlett will see you in hospital the following day to discuss your surgery and discharge you into the care of a physiotherapist who will guide you through your personalised rehabilitation program. It is important to recognise that you will likely have limitations imposed on your shoulder movement as you progress through your rehabilitation which may impact on your work and lifestyle activities. 

Key Points

  • Rotator cuff is an important for stability and function

  • Damage/Injury often leads to pain and impaired function

  • Surgical repair can help to restore function and alleviate symptoms