Nearly 2 million people visit a doctor for rotator cuff injuries every year. Of these patients, one-third will need surgery.
Not only can surgery alleviate shoulder pain, it can also save thousands of dollars by reducing indirect costs, including missed work days and disability payments.
“Many patients who have rotator cuff surgery are able to return to work and their regular daily activities,” said Dr. Ernesto Luciano-Perez, an orthopaedic surgeon at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists. “For a patient, this is tremendous. Surgery can restore their quality of life.”
It also benefits society.
A recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery examined the value of having surgery for a rotator cuff injury from a societal perspective. Researchers looked at the costs and benefits to patients, employers, payers and the government. Their analysis concluded that surgery saves about $13,800 per patient. If a patient is under the age of 40, the lifetime savings jump to $77,600.
All told, rotator cuff surgeries save the United States about $3.4 billion annually by reducing indirect costs.
Surgery is not recommended for most rotator cuff injuries. Every patient’s case needs to be evaluated appropriately by an orthopaedic specialist.
Doctors consider a variety of factors: severity of symptoms, the patient’s overall health and response to previous treatment.
The five common types of treatment include:
• Non-Operative – includes medication and rehabilitation.
• Partial Repair – entails removing part of the damaged area.
• Repair – open or arthroscopic surgery to repair the tear.
• Reconstruct – use of a patch or tendon transfer to affix the tendon to the bone.
• Arthroplasty – orthopedic surgery where the surface is replaced, remodeled or realigned.
When surgery is warranted, patients usually need physical therapy and rehabilitation after their procedure. Patients who choose to have surgery can expect to have reduced pain.
Sources: A Nation in Motion; Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery; American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
+ Read about advances in arthroscopic shoulder surgery at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists.
Dr. Ernesto Luciano-Perez specializes in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery at Virginia Orthopaedic & Spine Specialists. Dr. Luciano-Perez is certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgery. His affiliations and memberships include the Arthroscopy Association of North America, the American Medical Association, the Virginia Orthopaedic Society and the Southern Orthopaedic Association.
To learn more about arthroscopic shoulder surgery or to schedule an appointment with our shoulder specialists please call (757) 215-3789.