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Success Stories

“All the nurses were wonderful. They controlled my pain so well. What stood out the most was there was absolutely no pain in the procedure. It’s amazing to be able to move again.”

-Ralph Osterhout of Winnipeg, Canada

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Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is a group of four tendons that surround the shoulder joint, working together to allow mobility and range of motion. Typically, rotator cuff injuries involve damage to one or more of these tendons. Injuries can range from a minor strain, to a tear of one tendon, to a massive tear involving all four tendons.

The severity of injury can often be linked to the level of pain experienced, but it is important to seek care when dealing with any rotator cuff pain. Sometimes, especially in active individuals or athletes, you could be living with a major tear without significant dysfunction. Your provider will start with an X-ray, then potentially an MRI to determine the severity of your injury and potential treatment plans.

Altru Advanced Orthopedics offers a variety of treatment options for rotator cuff. The goal for Dr. Darin Leetun, who specializes in shoulder treatment and replacement, is to bring you back to long-term functional movement. For many, this does not require surgical interventions.

Non-Surgical Treatment Options

  • Heat before activity/ice following activity
  • Massage
  • At-home Strengthening Options
  • Physical Therapy
  • Pain Management Treatment
  • Subacromial Injections

If pain is severe, or a massive tear is discovered, surgical options may be considered right away. For those who attempt non-operative treatment, Dr. Leetun looks for regained functional movement without pain after 3-6 months. If you are still experiencing pain and mobility limitations after this time frame, surgical interventions should be considered.

Surgery Options

For most patients, arthroscopic surgery is the best option. This procedure causes less damage, as the surgeon is able to enter through three small holes, avoiding damage to the deltoid or other tissue. This may result in less pain and a quicker recovery.

Arthroscopic Superior Capsular Reconstruction

For patients with massive tears, or with otherwise irreparable tears, Altru Advanced Orthopedics offers Superior Capsular Reconstruction (SCR). This emerging technique has shown to be an outstanding salvage procedure to irreparable, massive rotator cuff tears. It is considered if the tears are too large to repair, repair of the rotator cuff has failed, or if chronic damage has retracted or pulled the tendon too far. 

Superior capsular reconstruction can restore joint stability and function, reduce pain and prevent the need for a reverse shoulder arthroplasty. Superior capsular reconstruction helps to hold the humeral head (ball) back into the glenoid (socket) to allow for normal functioning and reduced impingement on the rotator cuff tendons. To accomplish this, grafts are attached medially to the superior glenoid and laterally to the greater tuberosity. Through this advanced procedure, stability is restored and pain should decrease significantly.

Altru Advanced Orthopedics is the only provider in Grand Forks that offers superior capsular reconstruction.

Procedure and Recovery

All rotator cuff surgeries are performed at Altru Specialty Center, our specialized orthopedic hospital. For those undergoing a basic arthroscopic repair, you can expect to leave the hospital the same day as your surgery. Patients can anticipate full recovery in 4½-6 months with physical therapy.

For superior capsular reconstruction, you can expect to leave the hospital the same day as your surgery. Patients can anticipate full recovery in 3-6 months with physical therapy.

If you are experiencing shoulder pain, schedule an appointment with Altru Advanced Orthopedics. Call us at 701.732.7700 or schedule through MyHealth.