Arthroscopic Surgery Allows More Precise Repair for Rotator Cuff Injuries

Less pain, better cosmetic outcomes compared to open incisions

DAYTON, Ohio (July 24, 2017) – Everyone experiences joint pain – some of which can affect quality of life, yet often be hard to specifically diagnose. Imagine being able to experience pain and then examine its cause by simply viewing it with X-ray vision.

It seems futuristic, but it is what orthopedic surgeons can do when they conduct arthroscopic surgery on someone’s rotator cuff injury

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (ACOG), arthroscopy is a procedure that surgeons use to inspect, diagnose and repair problems inside a joint. Surgeons employ a small camera through four pin-size incisions and take it to the source of a person’s pain – such as a person’s rotator cuff. The camera then displays highly magnified pictures on a television screen and the surgeon uses the images to help better diagnose the problem or guide miniature surgical instruments to repair it.

“We are able to see things with the aid of an arthroscopic camera that we otherwise would have missed or would not have been able to see at all,” said Michael Herbenick, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Premier Orthopedics. “Several years ago, when this type of technology wasn’t available, we would never have been able to treat the pathology that we can treat now with arthroscopic methods.”

Arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery offers several benefits over conventional open surgery. There is not a lot of dissection, which translates into less pain for the patient. The patient is left with none of the large scars that come with open surgery since arthroscopy uses small entry points. And surgeons gain better access to the problem and have more freedom to move where they need to on either side of the joint.

“We’re able to get into all the areas and aspects within the joint. Whereas if we had an open incision we could only get to the front of the shoulder. We couldn’t get to the back of the shoulder unless you made another large incision,” said Dr. Herbenick, who practices with Premier Physician Network.

Dr. Herbenick has been performing arthroscopic rotator cuff surgeries for over a decade and said there are several things individuals should keep in mind when it comes to shoulder pain and possible surgery:

  • Don’t try to live with it – Dr. Herbenick sees patients come into his office because they can no longer live with the pain they are experiencing. The pain may have caused them to slow down their daily activities or give up a sport they love. However, many people wait longer than they need to have their pain evaluated. Don’t brush off pain and hope it will eventually go away. Seek professional help to regain your quality of life. 
  • Find an experienced surgeon – Arthroscopic surgery is widely known and used by surgeons, however, not all have the same amount of experience. Dr. Herbenick said it is important for patients to talk with their physician about their experience and, if open incision rotator cuff surgery is suggested, to feel the right to ask for a second opinion that would allow the use of arthroscopy.
  • Have the right expectations – Arthroscopic surgery itself is less painful and leaves less scarring compared to open incisions; however, that doesn’t always translate into quicker or less painful recovery times. Recovery and healing from rotator cuff surgery can still involve a lengthy recovery time. Talk to your surgeon about what recovery might look like.

For more information on arthroscopic rotator cuff surgery or to find a Premier Orthopedics physician near you, visit

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