Debridement for rotator cuff disorders

Debridement involves removing loose fragments of tendon, thickened bursa, and other debris from around the shoulder joint. By clearing damaged tissue from the region of the shoulder joint, it helps the doctor to see the extent of the injury and determine whether you need more surgery.

Debridement may be done in arthroscopic surgery (through two or three tiny incisions) or in open surgery (usually one larger incision). It is usually the first step in rotator cuff surgery. Sometimes debridement is done with arthroscopic surgery before an open surgery to repair a rotator cuff tear.

Debridement may also be done without rotator cuff repair to help relieve pain and other symptoms that have not improved with other treatment. This may be an option for people who don't want to have open surgery.

Last Updated: January 7, 2010

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & Patrick J. McMahon, MD - Orthopedics

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