The rotator cuff is a semicircle of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that hold your shoulder in place and keep it stable whenever you raise or rotate it. If you’ve torn your rotator cuff and it hasn’t responded to more conservative therapies, your only option may be surgical rotator cuff repair.
David Lintner, MD, has been the team physician for the Houston Astros since 1994. He diagnoses, treats, and repairs torn and damaged rotator cuffs at our Baytown and Houston, Texas, Houston Methodist Orthopedics & Sports Medicine clinics.
In most cases, Dr. Lintner uses minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery to repair rotator cuffs, which minimizes trauma and blood loss and speeds up recovery time. Whether you’re an athlete, a manual laborer, or you injured your rotator cuff in another way, here is how you prepare for rotator cuff surgery.
Nourish your shoulder
You tolerate surgery better and recover faster when your body is well-nourished. Make a switch to a whole-foods diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as high-quality sources of protein. Avoid processed foods and sugar.
Protein is essential for your recovery. Your body uses high-quality protein — such as grass-fed and pastured meats, poultry, and eggs, as well as wild-caught fish — to repair and rebuild your muscles and other tissues.
However, when it comes to supplements, be sure to check with a qualified dietitian to be sure you are using high quality energy sources that don’t contain contaminants or unwanted chemicals.. Some supplements act as blood thinners and should be avoided before surgery. Even herbs, such as ginseng and garlic, should come off the menu until post-op.
More than ever, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of healthy liquids, especially water. Avoid beverages that have sugar or high-fructose corn syrup. Coffee in the morning and tea are fine.
Let’s get down to it; quit smoking. Now is the time. First, we ask that you cease cigarette smoking before your surgery. Smoking raises your risk for many complications, including:
- Decreased blood flow
- Heart attack
Research has demonstrated that a smoker’s risk for complications during and after surgery decreases if they stop smoking before their operation. After you stop smoking, you shouldn’t start again. If necessary, we can refer you to a smoking cessation program.
Also, smoking is a clear risk factor for failure of a rotator cuff to heal after repair.
Use your own body for repair
In addition to arthroscopic or open surgery to repair your rotator cuff, Dr. Lintner may recommend accelerated healing with orthobiologics. During the surgery we may remove mesenchymal stem cells or platelets from your body to create healing serums that give your body extra building materials to speed your recovery.
Get ready for recovery
Recovery from your rotator cuff surgery takes time. That can affect everything from your home life to your sport or job. Before you report for surgery, make arrangements so that you have help during the first 4-6 weeks when your arm is in a sling. Prepare with:
- Frozen, pre-cooked meals
- Moving things to lower shelves
- Shower chair
- Detachable shower head
- Pillows to support your shoulder
- Sling or brace
If you’re an athlete, you also need to prepare yourself psychologically to be out of your game. Recovery can take up to six months, and that’s assuming you stick to your physical therapy and rehabilitation regimen.
Trust your rotator cuff repair to an expert by contacting the office nearest you in Houston or Baytown, Texas, for an in-depth evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment today. Call our friendly staff or schedule an appointment online.