Rotator Cuff Tear

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that keep the shoulder stable and mobile. A rotator cuff tear can be painful and can make it difficult to get on with daily life. Dressing, hair-brushing and driving can all be a challenge. The London Orthopaedic Clinic has leading orthopaedic surgeons, equipped with the latest technology to investigate and treat your rotator cuff tear, and support your healthy rehabilitation.

Physiotherapy, rest and anti-inflammatories can provide relief for many people. However, if conservative measures have not helped or if there is a big tear, surgery is necessary. The London Orthopaedic Clinic provides rotator cuff repair by leading orthopaedic surgeons in state-of-the art operating theatres and a calm, comfortable place in which to recover.

What is rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear is a rip in the group of four muscles that attach the ball at the top of the humerus to the shoulder blade. The rotator cuff can tear during an acute injury, like a fall or shoulder dislocation, or it can tear as a result of age-related degeneration of the tendon.

Rotator cuff tears are more common in people over the age of 40. The tendon can become less flexible with increasing age due to wear and tear, making it vulnerable to injury.

What are the symptoms of a rotator cuff tear?

A rotator cuff tear is painful. The ache is usually located at the top and side of the shoulder spreading down into the arm. Lifting, reaching and raising the arm above shoulder level can be painful and difficult and the pain may also be felt when sleeping on the affected side.

The pain can develop gradually, or it may come on suddenly following an accident. If there is an acute tear, you may feel a snapping sensation together with severe pain and weakness.

Rotator cuff tears can make the arm feel weak and there may be a grating sound when the shoulder moves. It can be difficult to perform routine activities like combing hair or scratching your back.

How can the London Orthopaedic Clinic help with a rotator cuff tear?

The specialist orthopaedic surgeons at the London Orthopaedic Clinic can make a thorough assessment of your shoulder and the effect your symptoms have on your lifestyle. They will arrange investigation by X-ray, MRI or ultrasound in the cutting-edge imaging suite. This will provide more detailed information about the joint, so they can tailor a treatment programme for your needs. This can include:

Recovery from rotator cuff repair

Your consultant orthopaedic surgeon together with the expert rehabilitation team at the London Orthopaedic Clinic will work to support your recovery, control any discomfort and restore your shoulder’s strength and mobility.

You will have to wear a sling day and night, to keep you comfortable, protect the wound, and to keep the shoulder stable as it heals. Depending on the size of the tear, you may need to wear this for up to 5-6 weeks.

The specialist physiotherapy team will support your rehabilitation, provide a customised exercise plan and monitor your progress. For between three and five weeks depending on your repair, you will be unable to use your arm for normal activities. It is particularly important not to move the elbow away from the body. The arm should be kept in a sling at all time, except when doing the physio-prescribed exercises.

Your surgeon will provide individual advice on when it is safe to return to work. In general, you can return after six weeks or earlier if you have a desk-based job. However, people that do heavy manual work may need to be off for three to four months.


Why choose the London Orthopaedic Clinic?

The London Orthopaedic Clinic provides high-quality, expert orthopaedic and musculoskeletal care, tailored to the individual needs of our patients. The Clinic is based at Mayo Clinic Healthcare, at the heart of London’s internationally renowned Harley Street medical district. The London Orthopaedic Clinic offers cutting-edge diagnostics, treatment, management and personalised care.

The expert multi-disciplinary team includes more than 25 leading orthopaedic surgeons, pain management consultants, rheumatologists, allied specialists and radiologists. They work together to reduce pain, improve movement and make a real difference to patients’ lives.

The London Orthopaedic Clinic offers patients something truly unique: access to world-leading experts, high-tech imaging and the latest innovative treatments, together with the feeling of trust and safety of a small family practice.

Rotator cuff tear treatment costs

The investigation and treatment of rotator cuff tears at the London Orthopaedic Clinic may be covered by your health insurance policy. Competitive packages are also available for patients who are self-paying. Contact a member of our friendly team on 020 7186 1000 or at to find out more.