Almost 2 million people visit a doctor for shoulder pain caused by a rotator cuff injury every year in the United States. About 1 in every 3 rotator cuff injuries end up requiring surgery, while the remaining cases receive adequate relief through conservative, non-surgical treatments like medication and physical therapy. A new study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery has found the cost effectiveness of undergoing surgical rotator cuff repair, particularly in patients under the age of 40. At the Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence, our expert surgeons provide the highest quality rotator cuff surgery in Los Angeles.

What is a Rotator Cuff Injury?

The rotator cuff consists of a grouping of 4 muscles that provide support and movement to the shoulder joint. If any of these muscles or their corresponding tendons separate from the bone, then it is considered a rotator cuff tear. This can occur as a result of degenerative issues with aging, overuse, or direct injury. The symptoms of a rotator cuff tear includes pain around the shoulder, decreased range of motion and strength, and pain when rotating or performing certain activities. The effects of a rotator cuff tear can be debilitating, especially when the patient needs full use of their shoulder for work or other daily activities.

Repairing Rotator Cuff Injuries

Not all rotator cuff injuries require surgery. Some patients and their doctors will decide to first attempt conservative treatments in an effort to help alleviate the symptoms without a surgical repair. This type of treatment is usually only recommended for patients that have had a partial tear, or who do not require constant or heavy use of their shoulder. For patients with a full tear or who require a more complete repair will usually undergo surgery. Minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery performed at the Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence is an incredibly effective form of treatment for rotator cuff tears in Los Angeles.

Economic Benefits

The study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery suggests undergoing a surgical repair for a rotator cuff tear reduces indirect costs, including less time off at work. The researchers have estimated that these procedures result in a total societal savings of $3.4 billion every year in the United States. It all depends on the patient, however. If a patient no longer works and has the time to do a full rehabilitation program, then the procedure may not be necessary. For those that will miss out on work and can’t take the time for a lengthy rehabilitation, surgery is usually the best option.

Rotator cuff surgery was found to be cost-effective across all age groups, with the total savings greatly offsetting the direct costs of the surgery. After direct costs are subtracted, patients under the age of 61 had an average savings to society of $13,771 each. Patients under the age of 40 had a much larger amount at $77,662. The results of this study are helpful in that they provide another tool for patients and surgeons to use when planning the short and long-term recovery from a rotator cuff tear.

Contact a Rotator Cuff Expert in Los Angeles

The renowned orthopedic surgeons at Shoulder Surgery Center of Excellence specialize in the comprehensive treatment of shoulder injuries and chronic shoulder joint conditions. If you have any questions about rotator cuff injury and treatment, or have been experiencing shoulder pain, contact our Los Angeles shoulder surgeons by calling (888) 847-0357 or through our contact form.

Now, learn more about when to see a doctor for your rotator cuff disorder.