Features February 2004 Issue

New Tools Ease Shoulder Repair

In mending a torn rotator cuff, tying a knot arthroscopically has always been a surgical challenge. Now there’s a solution—and for the patient, a welcome payoff.

Rotator cuff tears are one of the most common causes of shoulder pain. Whenever possible, surgeons prefer to repair such torn tendons arthroscopically, using small incisions and even smaller instruments, so that they can reduce initial trauma and speed recovery.

But, for a variety of reasons—the tear may be too big, the tendon too fragile, or the procedure too technically demanding—only about 10 percent of rotator cuff repairs are done arthroscopically. (The large majority are…

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