Arthroscopic debridement of a rotator cuff tear typically takes one to two hours to perform.
You will either be put under general anesthesia or have your arm numbed with a regional anesthesia that is injected into your shoulder. The more tendons you have damaged, the longer the surgery will take to perform and the longer you will have to be under anesthetic.
An arthroscope (a tiny camera about 3 1/2 millimeters in diameter) is inserted into your shoulder, and provides images on television monitors so the surgeon can see your shoulder ligaments.
Microsurgery instruments are inserted through two or three incisions about three to four millimeters wide.
Partial thickness tears usually have frayed or rough fragments removed (debrided). Surgeons then stimulate bleeding in the injured area to promote healing.
Hooked edges on the top of the shoulder blade (acromion) may be pinching the rotator cuff. This may require the flattening of these bones, a procedure called subacromial decompression.
After surgery you will receive stitches and be taken to the recovery room. The stitches are usually removed in two to three weeks.