The front part of the rotator cuff is known as the subscapularis, which can be very painful, in terms of the function of the shoulder, if torn. This tendon is typically torn in individuals between the ages of thirty and fifty that have some sort of traumatic injury, whether it be an accident, a work related injury or a physical injury from playing a sport. It can also tear even beyond this age range when it comes to daily activities where the arm is constantly being moved away from the body. This can damage the ball and socket joint which will make it extremely hard to move your arm away from your body or overhead.
This problem is approached by undergoing an Arthroscopic Subscapularis Repair. This surgery, along with all other rotator cuff surgeries, is approached athroscopically, so that the tear of the tendon is seen and the bone can be prepared. The bone is scrapped, and then sutures connect the bone back to the tendon. It takes about six weeks for the bone and the tendon to grow back together.
There are advantages in using the arthroscopic technique when performing surgeries. Doctors can see tears in the subscapularis as well as other injuries, if any, for example the labrum or issues related to the biceps tendon can be detected and fixed. Arthroscopic surgery helps minimize the discomfort that patients have after surgery which reduces the amount of pain medication that patients have to take and makes the recovery a little more comfortable and smoother than if this were done with the traditional open repair.
A sling will need to be worn for six weeks after surgery, and for those first six weeks, the exercise program is very conservative, and only simple range of motion activities are prohibited. After the first six weeks, a strengthening program is put in place for the next three months. From four and a half months on, sports specific and work related activities can be performed. A full recovery is expected by six months.