Rotator cuff injury treatment at Mayo Clinic

Your Mayo Clinic care team

At Mayo Clinic, orthopedic surgeons work with radiologists, physical therapists and other specialists to evaluate and treat rotator cuff injuries. This means that you're not getting just one opinion — you benefit from the knowledge and experience of each specialist on the multidisciplinary team.

Close collaboration enables the team to have your test results available quickly and to coordinate scheduling your appointments. Evaluation and treatment that might take months elsewhere can typically be done in only a matter of days at Mayo Clinic.

Surgeons discuss a rotator cuff procedure at Mayo Clinic.

Advanced diagnosis and treatment

With state-of-the-art research and laboratory facilities, Mayo Clinic orthopedic specialists use advanced technology, sophisticated imaging tests and comprehensive physical examinations to obtain a detailed, accurate diagnosis of your rotator cuff injury.

As a rotator cuff injury patient at Mayo Clinic, here's what you can expect:

  • Comprehensive diagnosis. Mayo Clinic orthopedic specialists perform a detailed physical examination of each patient. They test for range of motion, strength and other physical factors. Mayo Clinic specialists are experienced at interpreting MRI images and are able to distinguish false-positive indications, common in shoulder MRIs, from actual injuries. Combining the results of a careful physical exam with expert MRI interpretation enables Mayo specialists to accurately diagnose your injury.
  • Minimally invasive surgery. Mayo Clinic orthopedic surgeons have extensive experience performing routine and complex surgical repairs. Mayo Clinic surgeons are experts in minimally invasive repair techniques, which can shorten recovery time.
  • Cutting-edge procedures. Sometimes, a rotator cuff injury is so severe that the tendon can't be repaired. Mayo Clinic surgeons have developed unique tendon transfer techniques that broaden the selection of tendons used for the repair. Mayo Clinic surgeons have been intimately involved in the design and implantation of reverse shoulder replacement procedures, extremely useful for patients with end-stage rotator cuff disease.
  • Excellent pain management. Without proper pain management, a shoulder can be very painful for several days after surgery. At Mayo Clinic, our anesthesiologists use ultrasound imaging to place a catheter tube precisely in the affected area. This narrow tube delivers pain medication to the exact source of pain and significantly reduces and can often prevent post-surgical pain.
  • Physical therapy. After surgery, physical therapy is key to restoring strength and mobility in your shoulder. A tailored physical therapy program is provided for each individual patient. Physical therapists specializing in shoulder therapy are part of Mayo Clinic's rotator cuff team. You can complete your program by yourself completely at home or with the weekly help of a physical therapist.
  • Prevention advice. Our shoulder and elbow surgeons, in collaboration with physicians and therapists at the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, have developed an innovative exercise program that helps prevent rotator cuff injury in athletes and other high-risk people.

With the goal of seeking new knowledge and improving the reliability, comfort and cost of care, Mayo Clinic physicians continually study new diagnostic and treatment options and test them through clinical trials. A variety of clinical trials and other studies may be available to you at Mayo Clinic.

Nationally recognized expertise

The Department of Orthopedic Surgery at Mayo Clinic has earned a national and international reputation for its expertise in technologically advanced diagnostic techniques and minimally invasive procedures, as well as for its advanced research into pain management and improved procedures.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked highly performing for orthopedics.

The Mayo Clinic experience and patient stories

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care like they've never experienced. See the stories of satisfied Mayo Clinic patients.

  1. After Severe Rotator Cuff Injuries, Stuart Baker Found Relief at Mayo Clinic

    For Stuart Baker, flying was life. After beginning his career as a flight attendant, Stuart eventually earned a pilot?s license and flew for a major airline. But by age 40, this native of Winchester, Virginia, had torn his right rotator cuff twice, grounding his ability to fly. It took seven years, three surgeries and extensive [...]

Expertise and rankings

Members of Mayo Clinic's rotator cuff team

  • Clinical experience. Mayo Clinic's shoulder surgeons are recognized nationally and internationally for their surgical technical excellence and innovative abilities to solve both simple and difficult rotator cuff problems. Each year Mayo Clinic treats more than 5,000 people with rotator cuff injuries. Mayo Clinic shoulder and elbow surgeons are frequently asked to travel worldwide to educate other surgeons and to provide insight into the latest operative and nonoperative techniques.
  • Innovative methods. Mayo Clinic shoulder and elbow surgeons are at the forefront of new and innovative treatment options for injuries of the rotator cuff. Patient-specific surgical options, combined with advanced pain management and rehabilitation protocols, have helped our surgeons dramatically improve the lives of patients with difficult shoulder problems. Mayo Clinic surgeons have extensive depth and breadth of experience with reverse shoulder replacement.
  • New advances. Our surgeons and scientists collaborate in Mayo Clinic laboratories for biomechanics and motion analysis to develop new solutions that improve rotator cuff healing, speed rehabilitation and improve the outcomes for patients. At Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center, specific rehabilitation protocols have been developed that can improve rotator cuff function to prevent injury in high-level athletes or facilitate return to high-demand activities for the weekend warrior. Innovative solutions such as tendon transfer surgeries have been developed to help patients with massive tendon tears deemed unfixable with traditional techniques.
  • Minimally invasive approach. Mayo Clinic shoulder surgeons are skilled in minimally invasive techniques. Many rotator cuff problems can be repaired with smaller incisions, less pain, shorter hospital stays and faster recovery than traditional surgery. For more extensive or difficult problems, Mayo Clinic shoulder surgeons are able to help patients choose the surgical approach that is most likely to succeed in solving their rotator cuff problem.
  • Coordinated care. The team approach is a hallmark of Mayo Clinic. For those patients with a rotator cuff problem, Mayo Clinic experts in shoulder surgery, sports medicine, nonoperative shoulder care and rehabilitation work collectively to diagnose and treat each shoulder problem in a timely fashion. Mayo Clinic's anesthesia team plays a major role in making the surgical experience as painless as possible by using nerve blocks accurately placed under ultrasound guidance. Consultations with doctors, testing and treatment can be most often coordinated in a single visit.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Mayo Clinic in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz., are ranked among the Best Hospitals for orthopedics by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked highly performing for orthopedics.

Learn more about Mayo Clinic's orthopedic surgery department's expertise and rankings.

Locations, travel and lodging

Mayo Clinic has major campuses in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona; Jacksonville, Florida; and Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic Health System has dozens of locations in several states.

For more information on visiting Mayo Clinic, choose your location below:

Costs and insurance

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people.

In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals, or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Learn more about appointments at Mayo Clinic.

Please contact your insurance company to verify medical coverage and to obtain any needed authorization prior to your visit. Often, your insurer's customer service number is printed on the back of your insurance card.

March 03, 2018