Rotator Cuff Specialist

Maryland Orthopedic Specialists

Orthopedic Surgeons located in Bethesda, MD & Germantown, MD

As with most soft tissue injuries, your risk of rotator cuff issues increases with age. Before your shoulder pain worsens, visit board-certified orthopedic physicians James S. Gardiner, MD and Christopher S. Raffo, MD. Not all torn rotator cuff cases need surgery, but if surgery is the best option for you, the team at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics: Maryland Orthopedic Specialists Division can help. With a highly skilled physical therapy team at both the Bethesda and Germantown, Maryland locations, you can get all your treatments under one roof.

Rotator Cuff Q & A

What causes rotator cuff injuries?

Your rotator cuff is part of your shoulder joint. It’s composed of a group of muscles and tendons that are responsible for keeping the head of your upper arm bone stable inside your shoulder socket. Your rotator cuff is what enables you to rotate your arm in any direction, but it’s prone to injury from repeated use.

Rotator cuff disease and injury can occur if you frequently perform overhead motions, such as playing baseball or painting for a living. You’re also at risk of developing rotator cuff issues if you’re over age 40. Your risk is even higher if you have a family history of shoulder complications

How is a torn rotator cuff diagnosed?

Rotator cuff disease or tears can develop gradually over time or quickly due to trauma. If you’re experiencing pain or stiffness, especially if the issues have been occurring for several weeks, it’s essential to have your shoulder evaluated. Both Dr. Gardiner and Dr. Raffo usually start off with a physical exam to evaluate your range of motion.

The doctors may also recommend imaging tests. They may be able to diagnose your rotator cuff condition with a simple X-ray or ultrasound, but you may also need an MRI. After evaluating your imaging and the severity of your rotator cuff injury, your dedicated orthopedic team helps you decide on the right treatment plan.

Will I need surgery for a torn rotator cuff?

Surgery is almost always the last resort, but it is necessary in some cases. Patients often benefit from physical therapy or cortisone injections first. Dr. Gardiner and Dr. Raffo also provide platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, treatments.

PRP therapy involves taking a small blood sample and processing it in a specialized centrifuge. The machine separates out a mixture of powerful growth factors that your orthopedist injects into your shoulder. This starts a healing cascade that stimulates new cell production so new tissues start developing. Many patients start noticing dramatic relief within a few weeks.

If you do need surgery, both Dr. Gardiner and Dr. Raffo have extensive training and experience with minimally invasive arthroscopic procedures. This way, you have minimal scarring and a shorter recovery period.

Book your rotator cuff evaluation today by calling or using the online booking tool.